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Obesity Medical Costs Balloon to $147 Billion, Study Finds

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Old July 31st, 2009, 07:28 PM posted to soc.support.fat-acceptance,misc.consumers.frugal-living,alt.support.diet,alt.support.diet.low-carb,misc.consumers
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Default Obesity Medical Costs Balloon to $147 Billion, Study Finds

On Jul 27, 7:07*pm, (Lenora) wrote:

Obesity Medical Costs Balloon to $147 Billion, Study Finds

By Shannon Pettypiece

July 27 (Bloomberg) -- Medical spending for obesity is estimated to have
reached $147 billion in 2008, an 87 percent increase in the past decade,
according to a government-sponsored study.

Each obese patient costs health insurers and government programs $1,429, or
42 percent, more a year than a normal-weight individual in 2006, according
to the analysis of health expenses released today by the journal Health
Affairs. In 1998, the medical costs of obesity were estimated to have
reached $78.5 billion.

President Barack Obama has said his administration wants to control the
rising cost of health care in part through preventive medicine programs,
such as those to help people lose weight or quit smoking. Medicare, the
government run program for the elderly and disabled, spent $7 billion on
obesity-related prescriptions drugs, such as those to treat diabetes, high
cholesterol and blood pressure, the study said.

“Although health reform may be necessary to address health inequities and
rein in rising health spending, real savings are more likely to be achieved
through reforms that reduce the prevalence of obesity and related risk
factors, including poor diet and inactivity,” said the study’s authors.
“These reforms will require policy and environmental changes that extend
far beyond what can be achieved through changes in health care financing
and delivery.”

Expanding Obesity Rate

The incidence of obesity, a major cause of diabetes, stroke and heart
attacks, has more than doubled in the past 30 years, according to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 32 percent of American
adults are obese, according to data from the CDC’s Web site. A person is
obese if their body mass index is greater than 30 or about 186 pounds for a
person who is five feet, six inches tall.

Without obesity, spending by the government-funded Medicaid program for the
poor would be 8.5 percent less and Medicare would be lowered by 11.8
percent, the study said.

Researchers analyzed data between 1998 and 2006 from the
government-sponsored Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, which collects
information on health services that Americans use, how frequently they use
the services and the cost. The study was conducted by researchers at RTI
International in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, the CDC in
Atlanta, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in Rockville,

The study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To contact the reporter responsible for this story: Shannon Pettypiece at

Last Updated: July 27, 2009 12:09 EDT


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