U.S. health system spends $147 billion dollars a year on obesity


The U.S. health care system spends an estimated $147 billion every year on obesity related diseases.

The United State's obesity rate has risen 37 percent from 1998 to 2006. The 89 percent increase is being spent obesity related illnesses and diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and various other conditions.

"It is critical that we take effective steps to contain and reduce the enormous burden of obesity on our nation," CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said in a statement."

"What we found was the total cost of obesity increased from $74 billion to maybe as high as $147 billion today, so roughly double over that time period," Finkelstein said in a telephone interview.

Obesity accounts for 8.5 percent of health costs among people on Medicare, the federal program for the elderly and disabled, and 11.8 percent of costs from Medicaid, the joint state-federal program for the poor.

An obese Medicare beneficiary spends an $600 more per year on drug costs than a normal weight person on Medicare, the team found.

Diabetes alone counts for $180 billion dollars being spent each year. There is evidence that most of the diabetes in the U.S. is caused by excess weight," Finkelstein said.

The CDC has devised 24 obesity prevention plans that are currently being tested in Massachusetts and Minnesota. Environmental issues, sedentary lifestyles and the lack of healthy food in poor neighborhoods are some of the issues that will be addressed as those contributing to the nation's problem.



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