Healthcare Costs Increase With Excess Weight

Past studies have shown that carrying around excess fat tissue harms you in all sorts of ways. One indirect way to measure the level of that harm is to look at medical costs - and indeed researchers have shown that lifetime medical costs increase when you are overweight, even though your life expectancy is reduced. Here is more of the same:

Health care costs increase in parallel with body mass measurements, even beginning at a recommended healthy weight. The researchers found that costs associated with medical and drug claims rose gradually with each unit increase in body mass index (BMI). Notably, these increases began above a BMI of 19, which falls in the lower range of the healthy BMI category. "Our findings suggest that excess fat is detrimental at any level."

Using health insurance claims data for 17,703 Duke employees participating in annual health appraisals from 2001 to 2011, the researchers related costs of doctors' visits and use of prescription drugs to employees' BMIs. Measuring costs related to doctors' visits and prescriptions, the researchers observed that the prevalence of obesity-related diseases increased gradually across all BMI levels. In addition to diabetes and hypertension - the two diseases most commonly associated with being overweight or obese - the rates of nearly a dozen other disease categories also grew with increases in BMI. Cardiovascular disease was associated with the largest dollar increase per unit increase in BMI.

The average annual health care costs for a person with a BMI of 19 was found to be $2,368; this grew to $4,880 for a person with a BMI of 45 or greater. Women in the study had higher overall medical costs across all BMI categories, but men saw a sharper increase in medical costs the higher their BMIs rose.



So why should I, a non-smoking, non-gorging (BMI 24) person, pay the same health insurance premium as a smoking fatty?

Posted by: Tony at December 17th, 2013 4:39 PM


This is to subsidize the lazy (don't want to exercise), people who eat whatever and too much of it (read, fast food), and no will power (smoking, drinking too much, and so forth).

The purpose of Obama is to make it unfair for those of us who try to take care of themselves to make up for the others. I really wish I could eat what I want, not what I should and usually do it, and I prefer not to exercise. But, I know, if I take care of myself, I hope we will have some excellent medical care (cure?) in a few decades.

Yes, it is not fair to those of us who try to take care of ourselves. I think we should get discounts from the insurance companies for this. But, main advantage, is we may living longer and with fewer problems.

I hope Ray K. is right about the near future. In the meantime, we have to subsidize for alot of americans.

Posted by: Robert Church at December 17th, 2013 7:40 PM
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