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April 27th, 2010
11:47 AM ET

Report: The future costs of obesity

Program Note: Don't miss our coverage of the high cost of obesity tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

The United Health Foundation
The American Public Health Association
Partnership for Prevention

In a unique study that departed from looking at historical costs of obesity, Kenneth E. Thorpe, Ph.D., and colleagues from Emory University developed an econometric model to estimate the growth of health care costs over time that are attributable to changes in obesity rates. This report provides projections of future health care costs directly attributable to obesity for each state and for the nation.

Using nationally representative data on adults, the study estimates the effect of the increasing prevalence of obesity on total direct health care costs. Estimates are controlled for age, gender, race, ethnicity, marital status, education, income, health insurance status, geographic region and smoking status.

Major Findings:
Obesity is growing faster than any previous public health issue our nation has faced. If current trends continue, 103 million American adults will be considered obese by 2018.

The U.S. is expected to spend $344 billion on health care costs attributable to obesity in 2018 if rates continue to increase at their current levels. Obesity‐related direct expenditures are expected to account for more than 21 percent of the nation’s direct health care spending in 2018.

If obesity levels were held at their current rates, the U.S. could save an estimated $820 per adult in health care costs by 2018 ‐ a savings of almost $200 billion dollars.

At the state level, Oklahoma stands to benefit the most if obesity levels remain steady. This would provide a potential savings of $1,200 per adult or a savings of more than $3.2 billion for the state.

Oklahoma is expected to have the highest obesity rate in the country by 2018; Colorado is estimated to have the lowest obesity rate.

Read the full report here...


Filed under: 360° Radar • Health Care
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Alex Valiao (New York, NY)

    Lifestyle changes are difficult to accomplish. People are so used to keeping their comfort and what they have known for so long that making changes are very difficult or unbelievable. Men are normally well-abled to lose weight without help. Women, on the other hand, need more support and help. Hormones, pregnancy, stress, and their life style of having limited time for themselves I.e. being a mom (which is considered sedentary) and a professional at the same time. The government should initiate obesity measures/programs in the healthcare reform from medical to counselling. Obesity, especially in the late stages of life, has caused chronic illnesses (i.e. heart diseases, diabetes, and etc.) that funnels down to healthcare expenditures. It is true that we are the ones who makes decisions for our lifestyle and what we should eat. However, promoting health and well-being as part of a life trend does help as a gentle reminder or just for the satisfaction of being part of the "in-group". I do not believe people like being obese as they have known when they are young how to put their own socks, run, and walk around the park without getting tired. Some have learned to use rationalization as a defense mechanism for something that they don't have a control of. Some say it is OK but the truth hurts when people segregate them from the crowd or make fun of them. Waking up obese each day is never easy but people try to face the world nevertheless.

    April 27, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  2. Kirsten Verdi, San Antonio, TX

    I wished more people would choose to live a healthy life style, no nation is fatter than the US

    April 27, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  3. Janina Dyrkacz

    Addiction is a number one disease in USA and food addiction is one of them. Dependency is a result of disconnection from our emotions and feelings .Its time to raise the awareness and change the stigma of addictions .Thank you for raising this issue – founder of Models Against Addictions – nonprofit

    April 27, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  4. Maria H-Miami

    Unfortunately, Doctors, researchers, scientists do not want to realize that some people that are obesed like it, feel good about it and other obesed people don't believe they are obesed nor that there's anything wrong with it, some of my relatives are obesed and do feel this way, they actually think thin is bad, ugly.

    April 27, 2010 at 11:03 am |