The Mounting Costs of Obesity On The National Health Care Budget

Obesity or corpulence, is malnutrition more prevalent in developed countries. This health condition is like a spider’s web. Once you’re obese, you’re at risk of a variety of other health conditions, mental and physical.

It causes type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, depression etc. This is the sad cost of obesity. This translates to health care expenditures that are directly and indirectly caused by obesity.

In the United States, an estimated cost of obesity is 12% of the national health care budget, studied by the World Watch Institute and the World Bank. In a 1999 Lewin Group study commissioned by the American Obesity Association, the direct health care cost of obesity reached $ 102.2 billion. It shows a rise from 5.7% of the national health care budget directed to obesity (from a 1994 study) to the 9.8% of health expenses from the 1999 Lewin study.

The cost of obesity includes the costs of fifteen other health conditions that are caused by obesity namely: low back pain, gallbladder disease, endometrial cancer, renal cell cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, arthritis, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, end-stage renal disease, urinary incontinence, liver disease, obstructive sleep apnea, and hypertension.

The study also revealed that the higher the BMI (body mass index), the higher the risk of acquiring obesity related diseases. However, another statistic model revealed encouraging results. It seems that weight loss and a decrease of incidence of obesity related diseases reduces the cost of obesity in health expenditure.

It was found that by maintaining a 10% weight reduction, the expected years of life extended by more than half. This translates to a decrease in the cost of obesity and obesity related diseases, increasing savings from health care by more than half. Good health is parallel to economic benefits.

However, counting expenses is one story, measuring the quality of life is another. If the cost of obesity decreases as risk factors decrease, perhaps the quality of life increases as a result. This means that more time can be spent living rather than fighting a disease in order to live. A person is then able to be an active of society.

A person could do things they once wished to do, like traveling or even experience the simple joy of the wind in your hair as you ride a bike. The cost of obesity may be financially exhausting but the true cost of obesity is life and everything we love about it.

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