Medical Disorders
Resources
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
Cycling During Dialysis? It Might Help PatientsPregnancy Raises the Risk for Kidney StonesU.S. Marines Study Finds Getting COVID Won't Protect Young People From ReinfectionKnow the Signs of Rare Blood Clot Linked With J & J Vaccine1 in 50 COVID Patients in ICU Will Develop a StrokeBooster Shots a Likely Reality for COVID-Vaccinated AmericansAHA News: The Link Between Structural Racism, High Blood Pressure and Black People's HealthMost Young Americans Eager to Get COVID Vaccine: PollRashes Can Occur After COVID Vaccine,  But Dermatologists Say 'Don't Worry'Even Before COVID, Many More People Died Early in U.S. Versus EuropeCOVID Plus 'Bleeding' Stroke Doubles a Patient's Death RiskLower Rates of COVID in States That Mandated Masks: StudyCDC Panel Says It Needs More Time to Study J&J Vaccine Clotting CasesOne Good Way to Help Beat COVID: ExerciseDiabetes Can Lead to Amputations, But Stem Cell Treatment Offers HopeResearch Shows Links Between Gum Disease and Alzheimer'sNo Rise in Global Suicide Rate in First Months of PandemicCloth Masks Do Make Workouts a Bit Tougher, Study FindsMany Kids Who Develop Severe COVID-Linked Syndrome Have Neurologic SymptomsBiden, Fauci Say Pause in J&J COVID Vaccine Is Sign That Safety Comes FirstAHA News: Straight Answers to Common Questions About COVID-19 VaccinesJ&J Vaccine 'Pause' Is Not Mandate Against the Shot, FDA SaysU.K. Variant Won't Trigger More Severe COVID, Studies FindNewborns Won't Get COVID Through Infected Mom's Breast Milk: StudyU.S. Health Agencies Call for Pause in J&J COVID Vaccine After 6 People Develop ClotsUrinary Incontinence Surgery Won't Raise a Woman's Cancer RiskCOVID Vaccines Trigger Protective Immune Response in Nursing Home Residents: StudyCOVID Vaccines Might Not Protect Certain Cancer PatientsHad Facial Fillers? What You Need to Know About COVID VaccinesAntibody Cocktail May Curb Infection in Unvaccinated Who Are Exposed to COVID-19Scientists Find Clues to Why AstraZeneca's Vaccine May Cause ClotsNon-Emergency Surgeries Are Rebounding, But Backlogs RemainPandemic Has Put Many Clinical Trials on HoldSupply of J&J COVID Vaccine to Drop 86 Percent Next WeekStressed, Exhausted: Frontline Workers Faced Big Mental Strain in PandemicNIH Starts Trial Looking at Rare Allergic Reactions to COVID VaccinesNot Just Keyboards: Many Types of Workers Can Develop Carpal TunnelBlack Women Are Dying of COVID at Much Higher Rates Than White MenTwo Vaccines Show Effectiveness Against Emerging COVID VariantsWomen More Prone to Concussion's Long-Term Harms: StudyCOVID Cases Climb in the Midwest as British Variant Takes Hold in U.S.'Heart-in-a-Box' Can Be Lifesaving, Matching Up Distant Donors With PatientsNo Proof COVID Vaccines Can Trigger Guillain-Barré SyndromeFor People With PAD, Exercise Can Be Tough But RewardingPublic Lost Trust in CDC During COVID Crisis: Poll1 in 3 COVID Survivors Struggle With Mental Health Issues Months LaterA Few People With COVID Went a Crowded Bar: Here's What HappenedNearly 8 in 10 School, Child Care Staff Have Gotten at Least 1 Dose of COVID Vaccine: CDCModerna COVID Vaccine Offers Protection for at Least 6 Months: StudyStrain of COVID Care Has Many Health Professionals Looking for an Exit
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Cancer
Men's Health
Women's Health

Obesity Costs the Average U.S. Adult Almost $1,900 per Year: Study


HealthDay News
Updated: Mar 24th 2021

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, March 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- For people who are obese, even a small amount of weight gain may come with higher medical costs, a new study finds.

It's well known that obesity contributes to health conditions like arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers -- and health care costs reflect that.

But the new study dug a little deeper into the connection between weight and medical costs. Overall, health care costs for obese adults were nearly $1,900 higher each year, compared to their normal-weight peers. And once adults were in the "obese" category, even incremental increases in weight meant additional health care expenses, the researchers found.

The findings, based on nearly 180,000 Americans, sound like bad news.

Viewed a different way, though, they also suggest that small improvements in weight could save health care dollars.

"You could see this as glass half-full, half-empty," said Marlene Schwartz, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut.

"On one hand, it's not just categorical shifts in BMI that increase health care costs -- it's small shifts, too," said Schwartz, who was not involved in the study.

"On the other hand," she added, "that suggests even small improvements in BMI could make a difference."

BMI, or body mass index, is a measure of weight in relation to height. It's often described in terms of categories: A BMI of 30 to 34.9 is the "obesity class I" category, 35 to 39.9 is "class II," and a BMI of 40 or higher is "class III" or "severe" obesity.

In this study, once people reached a BMI of 30, even a one-unit increase caused annual health care expenses to creep up -- by an extra $253 per person.

Not surprisingly, severe obesity carried the heftiest price tag -- costing an additional $3,100 per person, versus Americans with a normal BMI.

Still, study leader Zachary Ward agreed that the findings can be seen in a positive light.

Even if obese adults cannot lose a substantial amount of weight -- a difficult feat, Ward noted -- there could be benefits from modest weight loss, or even from preventing further weight gain.

"If people can maintain their current weight as they age, that might avert some of these extra health care costs," said Ward, a research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health.

The study, published March 24 in the journal PLOS ONE, comes at a time of soaring obesity rates among Americans. As of 2018, more than 42% of U.S. adults were obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That was up from 30% about 20 years ago.

Just over 9% of adults are severely obese, the agency says.

The latest findings are based on more than 175,000 adults and children who took part in one of two federal health surveys.

Overall, Ward's team calculates, adulthood obesity accounted for nearly $173 billion in annual medical expenses nationally.

In general, obesity-related health care costs were greatest for people in their 60s, Ward said. But, he added, obesity in kids and young adults is a concern, in part, because they are likely to be obese as they grow older.

Ward said childhood is an ideal time for prevention -- both because the earlier, the better, and because it's generally easier for programs to reach children.

Schwartz agreed. "It's so important to focus on good nutrition in childhood," she said. "And it's an area that government can regulate."

Schwartz pointed to efforts to make fresh produce and other healthy foods more accessible to low-income Americans, through the Food Stamp and Women, Infants and Children programs. The National School Lunch Program also has updated its nutrition standards to boost kids' fruit and vegetable intake.

But it's also never too late for adults to make diet changes or start exercising. It is an uphill battle, Schwartz noted, and as people age, they are fighting the natural slowdown in metabolism.

As the latest findings suggest, though, even preventing further weight gain -- particularly the slide into severe obesity -- can be considered a win.

"Every step in the right direction counts," Schwartz said.

But for individuals to succeed, she noted, they need help. When healthy choices are made easier -- a workplace with fruits and vegetables rather than vending machines full of junk food, for example -- people will respond, Schwartz said.

More Information

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has advice on low-cost healthy eating.

SOURCES: Zachary Ward, PhD, MPH, research scientist, Center for Health Decision Science, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston; Marlene Schwartz, PhD, director, Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, and professor, human development and family sciences, University of Connecticut, Hartford; PLOS ONE, March 24, 2021, online




Facebook

Amazon Smile

 

Children and Adult services are available now with no wait time.  

Please contact HBH at 860-548-0101, option 2.

 


powered by centersite dot net