Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Cost of Obesity

Obesity is very costly to the US and other countries in the world. Obesity drives up the costs of healthcare, since it is associated with expensive diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The healthcare costs impact both the obese individual and the company the individual may work for. Therefore, for economic and health reasons, it is incumbent on us all to emphasize the importance of a healthy diet and physical activity.

In one study where a computer model was used in the analysis, it was determined “that an obese 50-year-old with normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels will end up costing society more than $36,000.” Further, the model showed “that if an obese 20-year-old shed enough pounds to drop to the overweight category, almost two-thirds of his lifetime costs to society could be avoided.” And in a report in the Journal of Health Economics, it was concluded that “obesity-related [spending makes] up nearly 20 percent of all U.S. medical costs per year and obese individuals spend 42 percent more on healthcare costs ..."

And the situation is no better for companies. In 2014, the “American Journal of Health Promotion reported that total health claims for morbidly obese employees cost their employers more than double the costs for normal-weight employees.” And that “Employers spend an average of $3,830 per year on benefits for normal-weight workers, and $8,067 for obese workers (2011 dollars)."

And today, the obesity related costs continue to be high for businesses. For example, according to one report, “Increased medical costs are … prevalent in Workers’ Compensation insurance, as those struggling with obesity are more likely to require a longer time to heal away from work.” Further, according to statistics by Gallup and others, “work-related injuries of obese employees are 25% higher, and compensation claims are filed twice as much.”

Therefore, both individuals and companies need to endeavor to make diet and exercise a way of life. Individuals need to work to add exercise and a healthy diet to their daily lives. And companies must institute programs that motivate employees to live a healthier life. Finally, both individuals and companies can gain by having obesity medicine specialists work with them to address overweight and obesity. 


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