ORONO, Maine — A University of Maine study says the medical costs of obesity for children and adolescents in the state could reach $1.2 billion over the next 20 years.

UMaine economics Professor Todd Gabe’s study also suggests that the incidence of obesity is likely to increase from 7.8 percent of Maine’s youths to nearly 26 percent as they grow into adults.

Gabe says his study brings the issue of a nationwide obesity epidemic closer to home.

The study uses statistics from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and data on more than 2,000 school-aged children in Maine compiled by physical education teachers in 18 schools across the state.

Last year, the medical costs of obesity for all age groups in Maine were nearly $453 million.