Forget drug prices this is the greatest threat to our healthcare

  • The average American is heavier than at the start of the 21st Century — and very close to being obese, according to Centers for Disease Control data on body metrics.
  • The average American man is 5-feet, 9-inches tall and weighs 198 pounds; an average woman is 5-feet, 4-inches and 171 pounds.
  • The Obesity Society, a scientific research organization, this month classified obesity as a worldwide, non-communicable chronic disease.

The media and patients like to blame skyrocketing healthcare costs on high drug prices, but the reality is that Americans are getting fatter, which in turn is leading to a variety of chronic health conditions.

In 2015–2016, age-adjusted mean body mass index — a measure of body fat based on height and weight — rose to 29.1 for men and 29.6 for women from 27.8 for men and 28.2 for women during 1999–2000. A normal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. A person is considered obese at 30 and above.

In the CDC report, American men — on average — gained nine pounds while maintaining roughly the same height, expanding waistlines by an inch and a half to 40 inches since the start of the century.

Medical costs to care for patients with obesity are estimated to be as high as $210 billion per year. In addition, obesity is associated with job absenteeism and lower productivity while at work, costing the system more than $6 billion each year.

In 2016, diseases caused by obesity and being overweight accounted for 47.1 percent of the total cost of chronic diseases in the U.S.— responsible for $480.7 billion in direct health care costs, plus $1.24 trillion in indirect costs related to lost economic productivity.

Obesity respresents a biger threat to our healthcare than smoking and yet politicians, the AMA, insurers and most HCP’s show little interest in coming together to fight obesity. Employers are talking abou banding together to form theor own health insurance coverage but unless they give employees an incentive to lose weight their costs are going to continue to rise.