Obese Account for Greatest Jump in Healthcare Spending...Jumped 80% in 5 years!
As reported by ABCNews.com:
Obese Account for Greatest Jump in Healthcare Spending
Study Shows Spending on Obesity Jumped 80 Percent in 5 Years
By KRISTINA FIORE
MedPage Today Staff Writer
July 9, 2009
Health care spending on obese patients in the United States has ballooned, growing more than 80 percent ove a five-year period, researchers have found.
Health care spending on obese patients in the U.S. has ballooned, growing more than 80 percent over a five-year period, researchers have found.
Spending on the heaviest members of the population rose to $303.1 billion in 2006 from $166.7 billion in 2001 -- an 82 percent increase, according to a statistical brief from the Agency for health care Research & Quality.
That figure compares with a 36 percent increase in total expenditures for patients who were merely overweight and a 25 percent increase for normal-weight patients.
The increase in spending on health care for overweight and obese Americans tracks the general rise in obesity in the U.S., as the number of obese jumped to 58.9 million from 48.2 million over the study period, according to Marie Stagnitti, a senior statistician with the AHRQ, and author of the brief.
As a result, in 2006 overweight and obese adults represented 27.2 percent of the U.S. population, up from 23.6 percent in 2001. Conversely, the proportion of normal-weight individuals decreased from 39 percent to 36 percent.
"Obese adults were associated with over half of the growth in health care spending between 2001 and 2006, and that's a remarkable figure," said Ken Thorpe, chair of health policy at Emory University, who was not involved in the study.
"Also, there are more people who are clinically obese . . . so it's really a combination of both" elements that is driving spending, he told MedPage Today.
Dr. Thorpe said that over time, more obese patients are being diagnosed with more chronic health problems, including diabetes, cholesterol, and heart disease, which also drives spending.
The data confirm that observation, as the AHRQ report revealed that obese patients continuously had the highest proportion of chronic conditions -- 57.1 percent in 2001 compared with 59.7 percent in 2006.
When it comes to total health care expenditures, the obese accounted for 35.3 percent of the bill in 2006, up from 28.1 percent in 2001.
Normal Weight Patients Rack up Less in Health Care Spending
Normal-weight patients have accounted for less of the bill, dropping from 35 percent to 30.3 percent over the study period.
But while obese and overweight patients may account for a larger share of the health care dollar, even fit Americans faced higher health care costs during the five years studied.
The average annual health care expenditure for the obese population increased to $5,148 from $3,458 over five years and jumped to $3,636 from $2,792 for the overweight population.
Normal-weight patients spent an average of $3,315 in 2006 compared with from $2,607 in 2001.
The article along with a video report can be found at; Obese Account for Greatest Jump in Healthcare Spending - ABC News
Additional reading including detail on the definition of being "Obese" as opposed to 'Overweight' and 'Healthy Weight' can be found at the following;
* Obesity and Overweight: Topics | DNPAO | CDC
* Obesity and Overweight for Professionals: Defining | DNPAO | CDC
* MedlinePlus: Obesity
* MedlinePlus: Obesity in Children
* Obesity - MayoClinic.com
* Obesity In Children And Teens | American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
* Overweight in Children
"Obesity is defined as having an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity is more than just a cosmetic concern, though. It increases your risk of diseases and health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure....Today, about one in three American adults is considered to be obese, but obesity is also becoming an increasing health problem globally. The good news is that even modest weight loss can improve or prevent the health problems associated with obesity." - The Mayo Clinic
Clinical definitions and cut offs
With all respect, the cut-offs for sugar levels, for total cholesterol and LDL values, and for blood pressure have been gradually lowered over the past 20 years. This causes some of the excess incidence.
Originally Posted by Janq
We need to be very careful about how we use the information accumulated and how we interpret it. Time was recently that bp of 140/80 was considered normal. Now, it is widely held that it should be kept below 120 if possible.
The cynics say that there is a corrupt motive in lowering the normative values, to drive drug sales. I don't agree with the cynics but I do think we need to be might careful not to socially ostracize folks who are fat; something many have done for ages. Let's not institutionalize unwarranted discrimination.
Don't forget the worlds heaviest man........
Originally Posted by Hopyard
He weighed in at over 1200 pounds but yet his Cholesterol was normal, blood pressure normal and blood sugar normal.
Learning from the oddities
Our scientists and physicians need to be thinking hard and carefully about these oddities; about guys like the janitor where I worked who
Originally Posted by Janq
show no sign of any disease though they are obese.
These oddities are telling us that we do not understand the picture, that we are making false assumptions about obesity and the consequences of it, that we are attempting to treat the wrong problem.
All things being equal it is certainly best for folks to try to control their weight within reasonable limits and within normal values when possible. However, we are far from a complete understanding of the relationship between obesity and health, and we have too little in the way of obesity treatment to be getting on those who are obese and demanding that they do something about it.
I've heard that there is evidence that the epidemic of obesity might in fact be due to uncontrollable variables such as an hypothesized "obesity virus," or perhaps to a bowel disease not understood, and so on.
The dramatic and completely unexpected nor understood effects of stomach stapling and similar procedures on diabetes are ample evidence that we don't yet know enough to be demanding that folks make great effort to control their weight against their own physiology.
To keep this somewhat on the topic of concealed carry, I used to do martial arts with a man who was really too too big. I truly liked the guy, but going hand to hand with him left me covered in a sweaty-fat like goo, and the fear of him breaking me without realizing what he was doing--due to his own strength was a concern. Surgery made a dramatic difference. Night and day. Last time I saw him, which was a few months after his procedure, I didn't recognize him at all.
There is more going on in the weight loss mechanism behind the success of these surgeries than mere restriction of food intake. The docs and the medical community are aware of this, but an actual understanding has not yet emerged.