Obesity in Our Area

    In Georgia the obesity prevalence among adults is 30.5% as of 2014, which falls within the obese category. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.[1]

    Within the Hamilton Medical Center primary service area, the obesity prevalence has risen considerably over the last nine years. The graph below depicts the nine year change for the surrounding counties. Whitfield County alone has experienced a 34.5% increase in obesity rates over the nine year period.

    The graph below displays the county-level estimates of obesity among adults aged ≥ 20 years for the counties surrounding Hamilton Medical Center and depicts the change from 2004 to 2013. In Whitfield County alone, the increase obesity prevalence rose 34% from 24.9% to 33.5%.

    In addition to the increased obesity prevalence, the associated costs have also sharply risen. The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related illness were calculated at a staggering $190.2 billion or nearly 21% of annual medical spending in the United States (2012).[2] The direct and additional hidden costs of obesity are stifling businesses and organizations that stimulate jobs and growth in U.S. cities.[3]

    [1]Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.Adult Obesity Facts and Prevalence Rates for 2014.

    [2]Cawley J, Meyerhoefer C. The medical care costs of obesity: an instrumental variables approach. Journal of Health Economics. 31(1):219-230. 2012.

    [3] The Cost of Obesity to US Cities, Gallup Business Journal, Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.