The most imperative public health challenge now a days for the United States is the epidemic of overweight and obesity, which is related to costly and debilitating health consequences . Alice Rivlin highlights the obesity as a major health care challenge faced by America covering the uninsured while curbing unsustainable increases in health care costs and their impact on the debt. The increased health risks for major disease that come with obesity not only hold a high social price tag but also a high economic one The drivers of the obesity epidemic are complex and multifaceted, so there is likely no single solution..
Early childhood can be an especially significant periodâ€”once obesity develops, a prevailing sequences of physiological processes and behavioral changes make it challenging to reverse . A recent study found that almost one-third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. These rates are even higher among rural populations ethnic minorities, , and those with low income or education. a 2012 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, which concluded that by 2030, 42% of adults will be obese. That study forecast $550 billion in health care spending from now to 2030 as a result of rising obesity rates Between 2010 and 2020, new cases of Type 2 diabetes could increase tenfold; so could stroke, coronary heart disease, hypertension and arthritis. The number of cases could double again by 2030, the report said. The researchers said these diseases will account for nearly $500 billion in total health care spending. The health risks associated with obesity reported by the Institute of Medicine include a much higher incidence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, several cancers, hypertension, high cholesterol, asthma, osteoarthritis, and liver disease.
A 2009 study found that childhood obesity alone is responsible for $14.1 billion in direct medical costs annually , with an additional $238 million in inpatient hospital costs. In the United States some estimates say, nearly 21 percent of all current medical spending is now obesity related. A significant proportion of these medical costs is paid by Medicaid and Medicare, and one recent analysis concluded that total Medicaid spending would be almost 12 percent lower in the absence of obesity. Beyond direct medical spending, additional costs from obesity are driven by increased rates of disability and by reduced productivity. The childhood obesity epidemic is especially worrisome because most obese children become obese adults. Research shows that obese children are more than three times as likely to be hospitalized as those who are not obese. Childhood obesity means more chronic disease will begin earlier in life for more peopleâ€”driving up lifetime costs considerably. For example, type 2 diabetes (for which obesity is a particularly strong risk factor) occurred primarily in adults until recently, but the Centers for Disease Control report that it is now beginning in childhood for more Americans. A recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimates that one-third of all children born in the United States today (and one-half of all Latino and African American children) will develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime. Even if the epidemic does not worsen, these costs are likely to prove an unsustainable burden on the health system given the long-term growth of the federal debt.
Reuters is reporting that obesity in America is now adding an astounding $190 billion to the annual national healthcare price tag, exceeding smoking as public health enemy number one when it comes to cost.
According to Sheldon Jacobson of the University of Illinois
, the extra weight carried by vehicles as a result of obese and overweight Americans is responsible for almost one billion additional gallons of gasoline being burned each year by our automobilesâ€”nearly 1 percent of our total gasoline usage. health of the country -- and the dollars spent on the health care system -- would benefit from even a 5% reduction in the average body mass index. The report is called "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2012.
Diana Holden, reported on CNN about 2009 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
, along with RTI International (a nonprofit research group),who has found that the direct and indirect cost of obesity "is as high as $147 billion annually." The study was based on figures collected in 2006.
The study found that in 2006, obese patients spent an average of $1,429 more for their medical care than did people within a normal weight range. That is a 42 percent higher cost for people who are obese.
The CDC study found that Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers increased spending due to obesity from 6.5 percent in 1998 to 9.1 percent in 2006. The figure includes prescription drug costs.Another 2009 study in the journal Health Affairs concluded that the costs of hospitalizations related to childhood obesity rose from $125.9 million in 2001 to $237.6 million in 2005. Bottom Line: America spends as much as $147 billion annually on the direct and indirect costs of obesity. In the year of the most recent CDC study, 2006, that made up 9.1 percent of medical spending
Not only healthcare cost is increased rather ,overweight or obese children are more likely than children who are not overweight or obese to miss more than two weeks of school in a year and to repeat a grade in school. In one study, obese children had rates of school absenteeism that were 20 percent greater than those of their non-obese classmates. Nearly one-third of American children ages 4 to 19 eat fast food every day, resulting in about six extra pounds per year for each child.
From the perspective of health care costs, early prevention can produce substantial savings. According to an analysis in the American Journal of Public Health, as modest as a 5 percent decline in the prevalence of diabetes and hypertension would save almost $25 billion annually in medium-term health care costs
If childhood obesity trend continue, experts predict it could cut two to five years off the lifespan of the average child in Americaâ€”making this the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Its time to make considerable changes at all levels starting from behavioral modification to policy implementation to halt this growing, emerging healthcare epidemic