Obesity Talking Points

The obesity epidemic threatens Texas’ physical and fiscal health. Texans young and old are growing fatter. As many as 66 percent of Texas adults and 32 percent of Texas teens are overweight or obese. Obesity-related diseases include diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and hypertension.

Obesity and its related diseases affect rising health care costs and health insurance premiums. Obesity drives 27 percent of health care spending. Economic costs related to excess weight and obesity in Texas could reach $32.5 billion by 2030.

To stop this epidemic, we must shift our focus from treating the diseases that result from obesity to preventing it.

Fat Facts

  • One in three Texas teens is overweight or obese. More than one-fifth of young adults (aged 18-25) in Texas are obese, up from 10 percent in 2000.
  • Obesity among children is more common in Hispanics (21.9 percent) and non-Hispanic blacks (19.5 percent) than among non-Hispanic whites (14.7 percent).
  • Among adults, the highest rates of obesity are among non-Hispanic blacks (48.1 percent), Hispanics (42.5 percent), and non-Hispanic whites (34.5 percent). 
  • Research shows students who are physically fit do better in school: They have higher test scores, good school attendance, and fewer disciplinary referrals.
  • Childhood obesity can lead to high blood pressure and high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and breathing and joint problems. Anxiety and depression, low self-esteem, lessened quality of life, and bullying also can result from obesity.
  • An overweight 12-year-old has a 75-percent chance of becoming overweight or obese as an adult.
  • Treating obese patients costs 37 percent more than treating normal-weight patients.
  • Over a patient's lifetime, per-person costs of obesity appear to be the same as the costs for smoking.

Sources: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts