Obesity Issues: Economic Effects of Obesity and Associated Health Issues
The economic effects of obesity and associated health issues can have a significant impact on the U.S. health care system. In addition to the loss of millions of lives, the staggering health care costs due to obesity pose a major threat to Americans and their families as well as the U.S. economy.
More than 72 million people in the U.S. are obese. More than one third of U.S. adults and 16% of U.S. children are obese. According to a new study reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the medical cost of obesity may be as high as $147 billion annually. This is almost 10% of U.S. medical spending.
For many Americans and their families, obesity-related medical bills and other health care costs could lead to financial collapse. According to a recent study, medical debt prompts most personal bankruptcy filings.
Obesity-related health care costs may involve direct and indirect costs. Direct medical costs include preventive, diagnostic and treatment services. Indirect medical costs relate to morbidity and mortality costs. Treatments of obese individuals often carry a much higher risk for potential and expensive medical complications.
Since obesity is a risk factor for stroke, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, some cancers and other diseases, reversing this epidemic can reduce the enormous health and economic burden of obesity on the United States health care system.
For millions of Americans, preventing obesity is not only a matter of life and death, but also a matter of avoiding financial devastation.