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Effects of American Obesity on the US Economy - Essay Example

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The aim of the study focuses on obesity in the US and its influence on the economy of the country. This epidemic sweeps the country and increases public treasury spending for medical treatment. The useful strategy for reducing costs is to involve encouraging the treatment of obesity…
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Effects of American Obesity on the US Economy
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Download file to see previous pages Obesity has become an epidemic in the US. A huge part of the population is said to be suffering from it. In the given paper we see the analysis of the effects of obesity on the healthcare system in the US and suggests a number of strategies that can be used to save the situation. Recent studies have revealed that the costs of obesity have adversely affected the US health care system and the economy at large. Statistics by CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) released in 2000 indicate that 15% of children are underweight (6 to 11 years) while 15% and 64% of adolescents and adults respectively are obese. The measure of weight status that is used in the current times is the BMI (Body Mass Index). The BMI indicates that the weight of a normal individual is equal to the height squared. A BMI of 24.9 or less is healthy, that of 24.9 to 25 is overweight, 30 to 39.9 is obesity and above 40 is referred to as clinical obesity as stated by Stokes. The Centre for Urban Policy and the Environment explains that those who have a BMI of 25 to 35 incur medical costs twice those of healthy individuals. According to the CUPE, the yearly healthcare costs for complications related to obesity are estimated to be approximately $78.5 billion which amounts to 4.7% of the nation’s health care spending. If this trend continues, healthcare spending on obesity will be close to $344 billion annually in 10 years, which is equivalent to 21% of the total health care spending. Obesity is said to be the principal factor contributing to increased healthcare costs in the US. In general, obese patients incur more costs in comparison to people of normal weight. A study conducted by Kenneth Thorpe of the Emory University in Atlanta found that an obese individual will incur medical bills of $8,315 annually by the year 2018 as asserted by Hellmich. If the number of obese adults does not decrease, this will cost the economy nearly $198 billion by 2018. More than half of the population in most states could be obese including Ohio, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Maryland and Mississippi. A report released in July 2009 shows that obesity-related medical bills were $147 billion. This is twice what it was in the past decade. The findings from this study are shocking and corrective action should be taken to prevent the projections of this study from becoming a reality. The costs of treating obesity and related illnesses have increased over the years and will continue to increase if the number of overweight persons in society continues to increase. A study by the National Health Accounts shows that $79 billion was spent on medical expenses related to obesity, and nearly 50% of these costs were incurred by Medicaid and Medicare. The yearly indirect costs associated with obesity including future income lost by premature deaths and lost wages are estimated to be $4.79 billion. The aggregate medical expenditure associated with obesity includes Medicare costs, Medicaid costs and private insurance costs and out-of-pocket costs as listed by The Centre for Urban Policy and the Environment. Obesity has extensive impacts on many sectors of the economy and precisely, employment. This is clear from the increased worker compensation cost, higher health insurance and costs related to mounting cases of absenteeism. Taking a hypothetical case of an entity with 1,000 employees, the yearly costs resulting from obesity are approximately $285,000 as stated by The Centre for Urban Policy and the Environment. Additionally, the mean annual per capita increase in medical costs and absenteeism resulting from obesity ranges from $460 to $2500 per obese or overweight worker; this is positively correlated with their BMI as explained by The Centre for Urban Policy and the Environment. This per capita cost in obese individuals is high among women with an increase of $1370 to $2485 annually. Medicaid and Medicare pay for most of the obesity-related costs and in the state of Indiana alone $901 million was spent. The statistics from various health organizations have shown the importance of coming up with strategies the reduce costs associated with obesity-related complications. The most important strategy involves encouraging the treatment of obesity by insurance companies. Another way to reduce these costs is by launching public initiatives centred on obesity treatment and prevention. The federal government should increase funding to states for initiatives that deal with inadequate physical activity and poor nutrition. In the 2005/2006 financial year, a total of 21 states received approximately $450,000 in financing for capacity building. These are some of the strategies that can be used to cut costs related to obesity in the US. In conclusion, the topic of obesity is highly controversial with many Americans viewing it as a defect while others are fighting for it to be accepted as a disease. This notwithstanding, the society and the nation at large should focus on the negative impacts it has on healthcare spending and the economy. There is enough evidence from studies conducted by health institutions and policymakers and the government should devise better policies that minimize causes of obesity. The citizens, on the other hand, should maintain a healthy diet and exercise constantly to ensure healthy living. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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Helpful paper! Used it to finish an assignment for a health sciences & medicine course. It was easy as ABC, for the first time in my life.

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