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Obesity: Who Should Bear the Cost

Editor’s note: The answer to reducing medical expense in a sustainable way for lifestyle choices, is NOT to provide more health care at lower cost to people. While environmental changes could assist, fundamentally we should all be responsible for our own actions and pay for the consequences of those actions. Some things are beyond our control such as genetics, but researchers suggest that 60-70% of health care costs are a result of lifestyle choices. So rather than rationing end of life care, people should pay for their lifestyle choices early on.

In this story, I suggest the phrase  ‘people who are obese spent $1,429 more on medical care…’ is really a misstatement. It is more likely that insurance paid the incremental amount and that amount was spread among all insured parties.

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The medical costs of obesity are estimated to be $147 billion a year, economists at RTI International announced today.

The report, issued two days before President Barack Obama visits the Triangle to press his message for health care reform, suggests that “policy and environmental changes” are necessary to help people eat healthier and get more exercise.

Health advocates have long pressed for more nutritious food in schools, better neighborhood development plans that include sidewalks and trails, and financial incentives from insurers to promote gym memberships and exercise.

When people become excessively heavy, they can develop diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, bone and joint problems, and increased cancer risks.

According to the study, people who are obese spent $1,429 more on medical care than normal weight people. As a result, public and private insurers pay more.

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/health_science/story/1623182.html

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July 28, 2009 - Posted by | Chronic conditions, Cost, healthcare | ,

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