Monday, July 27, 2009

Obese spend 42% more on health care

It's now more than 9% of all medical expenses and rising fast:

We need to address this epidemic!

The detailed study piles up one troubling statistic after another. Per capita medical spending for obese people is $1,429 higher per year than for someone of normal weight, a 42% difference. The condition now accounts for 8.5% of Medicare's expenditures and 11.8% of Medicaid's. Spending on prescription drugs alone for an obese Medicare beneficiary is $600 more per year than for prescriptions used by someone of normal weight.

Spending associated with obesity is almost entirely tied to the cost of treating diseases closely associated with the condition, such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and even cancer (about one-third of cancer cases are linked to obesity). Diabetes alone costs the nation $191 billion a year. "If not for obesity, these costs would be much lower," the researchers said. "The connection between rising rates of obesity and rising medical spending is undeniable."

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