Growing Obesity may cost $66 billion, weight loss program a must

Growing Obesity may cost just a single nation close to $66 billion. Experts say that weight loss programs are a must to reduce and control it. The cost of treating US citizens may rise by as much a $66 billion by 2030 mainly due to increased obesity say researchers. America has been having a bruising debate on healthcare costs, with Republicans bent on slashing Medicare and Medicaid. Both these programs are a major contributor to the deficit, which is already at $14 trillion.

If healthcare costs are not controlled, they may end up bankrupting the government. While there is agreement on the principle of controlling healthcare costs, Democrats and Republicans differ widely on how to do it.

Democrats prefer a mix of options which include eliminating unnecessary costly treatments, a proposal that the Republicans have opposed. Various commentators have also proposed that a healthier lifestyle, and a check on junk food which leads to obesity is a fundamental necessity in controlling healthcare costs.

Claire Wang, an epidemiologist with the Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health said that 100 million Americans and 15 million Britons are already considered obese, based on their body-mass index. The index measures weight to height ratio.

If current trends continue 65 million American adults and 11 million British will join soon their ranks, according to Wang, who is one of the authors of four-part series on obesity published in today’s Lancet. The cost towards obesity would add 2.6 percent to US’ annual healthcare bill, while Britain would see a cost rise of 2 billion pounds a year, which represents 2 percent of yearly healthcare spending.

“We are in an obesity and chronic disease crisis although it doesn’t feel like it,” Boyd Swinburn, another of the authors of the paper, and a professor at Deakin University in Melbourne, said at the press conference. “It’s a little bit like the frog sitting in hot water — it doesn’t realize that it’s going to boil until it’s too late.”


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on August 28, 2011. Filed under Business.
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