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America's economic cost of obesity

Posted Oct 18 2009 10:03pm

OK, so we have been hearing for awhile now that the  obesity epidemic  has many negative health ramifications both for adults, teens and children; it has also been reported that there are some pretty heavy financial concerns for this country associated with so many Americans being overweight, obese, and/or with the associated medical issues ... so what is it really that we are talking about financially?  What are there economic costs?

According to the CDC, Centers for Disease Control (one of our country's most reliable institutions for medical information and research), the  national economic cost of obesity  involves a few factors: 

  • direct medical costs - preventive, diagnostic, and treatment services related to obesity
  • indirect medical costs - morbidity and mortality costs.  In other words, how obesity negatively impacts someone's life defined as value of income lost (present and future) from decreased productivity on the job, restricted activity, absenteeism, bed days, and premature death. 

Click here  to view your state compared to others.

Studies done have shown that medical expenses associated with being overweight and obese  are estimated to have reached as high as  $92 billion  in 2002 (Finkelstein, Fiebelkorn, and Wang 2003).  Other studies estimate that our nation's obesity epidemic is costing the country more than $117 billion ( Office of the Surgeon General ) every year.

 And a more recent study by Thomson Medstat in 2005 has estimated that the  America's national cost of childhood obesity  alone stands at about  $14 million per year

Children diagnosed with obesity are two to three times more likely to be hospitalized, adding to the medical costs.   Studies have shown that there is a difference in whether a child has health insurance by private, Medicaid or not insured at all; Medicaid appears to carry a substantial burden of these costs.  Rising  childhood obesity  rates suggest that these costs will continue to increase if nothing is done to reverse the trend.

We must not lose sight of the task at hand. This is a significant health problem and financial issue in what is now rapidly becoming a danger to ALL children, in ALL social classes, of ALL races, in ALL of the United States. 

Picture by Madriger, PhotoXpress

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