Obesity is really a national dilemma; it has an effect on the whole nation, not just the overweight person. Professionals state that in the event that Americans continue to gain weight, obesity will cause the United States to pay approximately $344 BILLION dollars in healthcare-related spending by the year 2018. This price would actually be 21% of all spending on health care in this nation. Currently, obesity-related disorders account for 10% of all medical spending. This would make an 11% increase in only eight years!
These types of numbers may appear ridiculous to some, and terrifying to other people, however they are based on the prediction that in only a decade from right now, 43% of US adults are going to be obese. Weight is categorized into five groups by body mass index: normal (18.5-24.9), overweight (25-29.9), obese (30-34.9), severely obese (35-39.9), and morbidly obese (40+). Typically, someone who is obese is thirty pounds or more over their healthy weight. In the event that obesity continues to rise at the rate at which it has been rising, this projection will be reality.
One might assume that people diagnosed with obesity-related conditions would be motivated to lose weight to improve their health. The problem is that many believe they can take the medications prescribed by their doctors and continue to eat the unhealthy foods that got them to where they are in the first place. The reliance on prescription drugs only continues to propagate the problem by increasing costs both to the individual and to insurance companies.
The current presidential administration is desperate for methods to cut health-related costs, Congress is debating health care legislation, and reform is imminent. This problem ought to be a top priority for us, as the consequences associated with obesity are severe. Extra weight raises an individual’s risk of getting diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and various kinds of cancer.
Alarmingly, an obese person will have an average of $8,315 in health-related bills PER YEAR compared with $5,855 for an adult at a healthy weight. What’s the difference? The overweight person is paying a whopping $2,460 more PER YEAR. Almost $1500 is added each year to the country’s health care costs due to diseases, conditions, and disorders related to obesity. The CDC estimates that nearly 40% of American adults are already obese. Conservative estimates predict that in a decade, that number will increase to 43%. Will it even take that long?
The US spends an excessively high sum of money in health-related costs related to obesity. This reality is not going to change unless Americans radically alter their dieting and exercise patterns, and the problem will most likely simply get worse. The major problem with “fixing” obesity is that its cure requires a lifestyle change on the part of the individual. People need to become educated in healthy eating and regular exercise, and then ingrain those habits into their lives. The question now is how to get there? It is particularly problematic when it comes to children. Kids simply do not have the capacity to delay gratification in order to make appropriate choices, and often their resources are limited. They need parents to both guide and provide for them.
Unless individuals and parents begin to make better choices for themselves and their children, obesity will continue to be one of the most costly issues facing healthcare in America.