This editorial appeared in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
About 15 million Texans will be obese by 2040, according to the state demographer. That triples the current number, based on projected growth in population and waistlines.
Demographer Karl Eschbach – flanked Thursday by state Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and other health experts and dignitaries – described the statistical trajectory of the state’s weight problem and its consequences. He projected the percentage of obese Texas adults to rise from about 29 percent in 2010 to more than 42 percent by 2040.
The trend is not much different in other states. While Texas adults have the 10th-highest obesity rate in the U.S., Texas children rank sixth nationally. A 2005 study found 42 percent of fourth-graders were obese, overweight or at risk of becoming so.
"The consequences for our state if we don’t do anything are going to be profound," Eschbach said.
"This [obesity] is the most serious threat we face," Nelson said.
"If we don’t tackle this problem, not only will our generation of children be the first to have a shorter average life span than our parents, we will never get a handle on the costs of preventable diseases like diabetes, heart disease and even some forms of cancer," Gov. Rick Perry said in his State of the State address.
All of these are numbingly familiar pronouncements by public officials. The tone of frustration and desperation is palpable. The problem is a speeding train, crushing public-health interventions and government programs on its tracks designed to stop it – or at least slow it down.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
People have to be willing to put down their knives and forks.