- The total impact of obesity and its related complications on the United States’ economic output has been estimated at between 4 and 8 percent of gross domestic product.
- According to the American Diabetes Association, the annual cost of diabetes in 2017 was $327 billion, including $237 billion in direct medical expenditures and $90 billion in reduced worker productivity.
- The effects of poor diet and inadequate physical activity at any weight — contributed to declines in life expectancy in 2015 and 2016.
- The obesity epidemic is largely overlooked as the media continue to blame drug companies and PBM’s for high drug costs.
While the media continues to highlight high drug prices and PhRMA points the finger at hospitals and PBM’s the real danger to health care is ourselves. According to the NY Times, “After remaining essentially flat in the 1950s and 1960s, the prevalence of obesity doubled in adults and tripled in children between the 1970s and 2000. According to new data from the Centers for Disease Control, the epidemic shows no signs of abating. Nearly four out of 10 adults are obese; for children, it’s nearly two out of 10. Most 2-year-olds today will develop obesity by age 35, according to a recent projection from our colleagues at Harvard”.
What does this mean for you?
1ne: Even if you’re not obese the obesity epidemic is costing us all. The total impact of obesity and its related complications on the United States’ economic output has been estimated at between 4 and 8 percent of gross domestic product. Even on the lower end, that’s comparable to the 2018 defense budget ($643 billion) and Medicare ($588 billion).
2wo: The epidemic substantially increases federal entitlement spending for medical costs through Medicare, Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income, while the resulting lower worker productivity reduces tax revenues.
In other words, it’s costing us all where it hurts.
We are all to blame
Today it’s much easier to treat a condition than the person. Have high cholesterol? No problem, I’ll prescribe a statin. High blood pressure? There’s a prescription for that too. Pre-diabetes? I won’t say anything and prescribe insulin if you get diabetes.
The basic problem is that we love to point the finger of blame at everyone but ourselves. Sure, there are too many ads for processed foods and high sugar products, but the problem of inactivity is leading to a huge obesity epidemic.
While some companies are trying to lower their health care employee costs, very few are focusing on wellness or in-house exercise programs. An in-house gym is considered a major perk by employees, but organizations also have to provide other incentives to get people to use them.