Carolyn L. Engelhard, Arthur Garson, Jr., and Stan Dorn (2009) Reducing Obesity: Policy Strategies From The Tobacco Wars. Methodist DeBakey Cardiovascular Journal: October 2009, Vol. 5, No. 4, pp. 46-50.doi: https://doi.org/10.14797/mdcj-5-4-46
Obesity Sickens, Kills, and Creates Significant Societal Costs
For the first time since the Civil War, American life expectancy is projected to decrease.1 The reason: diseases related to obesity.
Obesity now affects one in six children and more than one in three adults.2, 3 Obesity rates have more than doubled over the past 40 years, and the percentage of children age six to 11 who are obese has quadrupled,4 climbing from 4 to 18.8%; 40% of American adults will be obese by 2015.5 Obesity and excess weight contribute to more than 20 chronic illnesses, ranging from diabetes and hypertension to conditions with less well-known links to obesity, such as colon cancer.6 In 2000, obesity caused an estimated 112,000 deaths.7 With each obese employee estimated to cost employers 20 lost days of work a year, obesity adversely affects productivity more than any other health problem.
Rising obesity rates also affect health care spending.8 In 2009, obesity and overweight together will add $228 billion to the nation’s health care bills.
This issue affects all of us, including the non-obese. Obesity increases health insurance premiums for the average non-obese worker by an average of $150 a year in 1998 dollars,9 totaling $25.6 billion in extra premium costs.Keywords
obesity , overweight , lifestyle , healthcare , economics , diabetes