Expensive Fat

Is it ironic or coincidence that bloated bodies are inflating US healthcare expenses? Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News reports obesity is bloating medical bills. Here’s a snippet:
Obesity is a big factor driving soaring rates of chronic disease in the United States, with many more Americans chronically ill than their European counterparts, a new study finds.


It's an expensive problem, too: According to researchers, chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease account for some $100 to $150 billion in health-care spending in the United States each year.

"The United States spends twice as much as European countries on health care," noted lead researcher Kenneth Thorpe, chairman of the department of health policy and management at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta. "Seventy-five percent of what we spend in this country is associated with patients that have one or more chronic conditions and most of the growth is due to obesity."
Not new news, Dr. Fuhrman talked about this in Eat to Live. Check it out:
The number one health problem in the United States is obesity, and if the current trend continues, by the year 2230 all adults in the United States will be obese. The National Institutes of Health estimate that obesity is associated with a twofold increase in mortality, costing society more than $100 billion per year.1


Obesity and its sequelae pose a serious challenge to physicians. Both primary-care physicians and obesity-treatment specialists fail to make an impact on the long-term health of most of their patients. Studies show that initial weight loss is followed by weight regain.2
People complain about the cost of buying fruits and vegetables, but something tells me, in the long run its cheaper than triple-bypasses, dialysis, and statins.
1. Bender, R., C. Trautnet, M. Spraul, and M. Berger. 1998. Assessment of excess mortality in obesity. Am. J. Epidemiol. 147 (1): 42–48; Wolf, A. M., and G. A. Colditz. 1998. Current estimates of the economic cost of obesity in the United States. Obes. Res. 6 (2): 97–106.

2. Perri, M. G., S. F. Sears, Jr., and J. E. Clark. 1993. Strategies for improving maintenance of weight loss: toward a continuous care model of obesity management. Diabetes Care 16: 200–09.
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Sara - October 3, 2007 8:45 AM

I'm on the diet, and I also complain about the high price of food! Unfortunately, in America, it is very expensive to eat well, and cheap to eat poorly. I think more people would be able to follow the plan if it weren't for government subsidies driving down the cost of meat and dairy while the price of fruits and vegetables stays at current market value. Really, it should be the other way around.

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