T Nation

Nearly 10 % of Health Spending for Obesity


WASHINGTON - Obesity's not just dangerous, it's expensive. New research shows medical spending averages $1,400 more a year for an obese person than someone who's normal weight.

Overall obesity-related health spending reaches $147 billion, double what it was nearly a decade ago, says the study published Monday by the journal Health Affairs.

Don't blame things like stomach-stapling for all those extra bills. They instead reflect the costs of treating diabetes, heart disease and other ailments far more common for the overweight, concluded the study by government scientists and the nonprofit research group RTI International.

...ok, how do we fix this?


My solution was always to charge obese people much higher health care rates. Makes sense to me, but people might say it's discriminatory. I say that's silly since it's something they can control and is bad for them (like smoking).


I say give them special parking spaces. The furthest spaces from the store.


No one (in Washington) wants to talk about the abomination that is the eating habits of typical Americans. Not just the eating habits, but the laziness associated with them. I saw a roundtable on CNBC tonight with health "experts" who discussed health care reform. Only 1 bothered to bring up the idea of eating better and more healthy food, while the others talked about the health system. Michael Milken spoke about the best health care system, being the one you never had to use. This flew right over the heads of a few doctors, and the president of the American Medical Association. They compared it with France, who has the #1 ranked system, but their levels of obesity are far less than ours in the US.

It really bothers me that people don't bother to consider that 65% of the US people are obese, and that has to change before the system that attempts to help them does.


Trust me they all understand. It's just one industry shaking hands with another. Encouraging people to eat less of organic takes sales away from powerful companies. They don't like that.


You know what I hate most about democratic socialism?

That I am suddenly supposed to care what other people eat, drink or fuck.


That would call for accountablility on the part of the individuals, though, and no one wants to push that.

Educational programs are really all you can do. You can't force people to eat well and take care of themselves, and I don't really think that the government should be doing that.


For once, I agree.


Interesting points. Personally I'm in favor of the "charge them more" idea. How exactly this will work with those 47m uninsured I have no idea though. And Pat's idea of the parking space is classic.

I don't really think we can "make" people do anything. Then again, as DrS talked about on the other thread, we're all already paying for it, so unless we can find a way to Orion's libertarian utopia, we should probably talk about it and try to deal with it.

For me this is a personal issue. Many in my family are obese and when I was a kid I was big too. I can tell them all that I want that "I did it, so can you" but they don't and won't. So what can I personally do? What can we as a society do? Tax sugary soft-drinks? Perhaps some kind of tax-rebate for "diet" drinks? Are educational policies the only solution? I remember the "presidential fitness challenge" when I was a kid, and I don't remember that don't shit...just a test once a year. I hope some on here have better ideas then mine.


WASHINGTON - On the agenda is the revamping of the American health care system, possibly the most complex legislation in modern history. But on the table, in a conference room where the bill is being hashed out by six senators, the snacks are anything but healthy.

Last week, there were chippers- chocolate-covered potato chips described on a sign as North Dakota Diet Food. More often, there are Doritos, pretzels, Oreo cookies and beef jerky: fuel to get through hours of talks on topics like the actuarial values of private insurance plans or the cost-sharing provisions of Medicare.

Talk about irony.


How about we just deny coverage to all of those without a healthy lifestyle? We can trust the government to decide who is "healthy" and who is not.

We could possibly save the system thousands of dollars....if not tens of thousands.


This, among other things, is guaranteed to happen if the liberals get their way. Call it remote control eugenics and cost cutting with the same stone. Of course Gerald Nadler would still get treated though.


Parade them and tobacco users on TV, in newspapers, and in internet postings. As criminals, theives, of the common good and of public resources. These people are like the one shipwreck survivor guilty of sneaking and hoarding food from his fellow survivors. Humiliate them, fine them, and force them into programs and rehabilitation camps. They will bend to the collective, because we care that damn much!

/Gets out worship mat and turns to face the direction of D.C.


I think parent's need to somehow be more accountable for raising their child in a healthy manner, because in a way it is child abuse/neglect. This means NOT buying liters of soda and maybe COOKING for once. We get it, it's very hard to raise a kid, but people need to be convinced that what they are feeding/teaching their kids is directly related to that child's ability to lead a healthy life.

Unfortunately, if we are to truly embrace federal funded health-care, this means providing health-care to all of our citizens in need, even the expensive ones. As much as we might hate their lifestyle they are still our fellow people.


Ever heard of enabling? One of the few modern psycho babble terms I actually think has validity? This is enabling on a mortally disastrous national scale. It's like the parents who keep bailing their reprobate kid out of jail and then are mystified at why their "love" isn't reaching them.


I don't want to pay for someone else's wreckless lifestyle. Why do people live in the dark with reality? If you eat like shit, drink and smoke excessively, and then get hit with a disease, why would you be so surprised? People know that eating and living poorly has a direct result on their quality and quantity of life, so accept it. The warning labels don't work, it's not until you get diagnosed with some shit until you realize it, which most of the time is too late to do something about it.

I am so tired of this attitude that people have that they are helpless with their life. "I am fat, and there is nothing I can do about it, so be it." Well STFU and don't complain, because you know that eating garbage makes you this way.


Even worse: the American public is convinced that diseases like obesity cannot be cured by the individual but rather that government intervention is necessary with its programs like "food labeling", for example.

You are no longer responsible for any decisions you make in regard to your own life because "capitalism" -- and any other doctrine that promotes individual responsibility -- is evil.

The debate is never advanced further than this with the "neo-liberal" mindset.


Ever notice that the obesity rate grows proportionally to the decline in cigarette smoking? Coincidence? I think NOT!


Tax on fattening foods?

Interesting debate on CNN.com. Should the federal government tax unhealthy foods? Is it the federal government's responsibility to make legislation to discourage unhealthy eating, or would the government be stepping its bounds? It could raise money to combat the high costs of obesity-related health claims.