Washington: Obesity puts a drag on the wallet as well as health, especially for women.
The numbers are in line with other research and aren’t surprising, said Dr. Kevin Schulman, a professor of medicine and health economist at Duke University who wasn`t involved in the new report.Two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese, and childhood obesity has tripled in the past three decades. Nearly 18 percent of adolescents now are obese, facing a future of diabetes, heart disease and other ailments.Looking at the price tag may help policymakers weigh the value of spending to prevent and fight obesity, said Schulman, pointing to factors like dietary changes over the past 30 years and physical environments that discourage physical activity."We’re paying a very high price as a society for obesity, and why don`t we think about it as a problem of enormous magnitude to our economy?" he asks. "We’re creating obesity and we need to do a man-on-the-moon effort to solve this before those poor kids in elementary school become diabetic middle-aged people."A major study published last year found medical spending averages $1,400 more a year for the obese than normal-weight people. Tuesday’s report added mostly work-related costs - things like sick days and disability claims - related to those health problems.It also included a quirky finding, a study that calculated nearly 1 billion additional gallons of gasoline are used every year because of increases in car passengers’ weight since 1960.Bureau Report
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