Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Eating Our Way to More Expensive Health Care?

An interesting article on the growing levels of obesity among baby boomers and the likely effect on Medicare expenditures.

Obesity rates among adults rose in 23 states over the past year and didn't decline anywhere, says a new report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. And while the nation has long been bracing for a surge in Medicare as the boomers start turning 65, the new report makes clear that fat, not just age, will fuel much of those bills.


Health economists once made the harsh financial calculation that the obese would save money by dying sooner, notes Jeff Levi, executive director of the Trust, a nonprofit public health group. But more recent research instead suggests they live nearly as long but are much sicker for longer, requiring such costly interventions as knee replacements and diabetes care and dialysis.

Studies show Medicare spends anywhere from $1,400 to $6,000 more annually on health care for an obese senior than for the non-obese.

1 comment:

MediaMaven said...

I read this article this morning, and like many stories on obesity, it worries me. Other than the fact that I will have a hard time living in the South, fatter, sicker people just drain resources--from wider seats in airports to medical expenditures, it's extremely costly to society when people are so blatantly unhealthy. This has been documented, as I know you are aware. But while I know there is some change afoot, I wonder how much it will really matter, and if it will make a lasting difference. I think it won't until American society becomes more structually sound for healthier living--safer and accessible public transportation, places within walking distance and the stigma of driving short distances grows, for starters.