Obesity Tops Health Issues

Written by eHealth Navigator

Obesity has become not only a national health threat, but also a major public health issue in the U.S.  More than one-third of American adults and 17% of the nation's youth are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC defines an "obese" adult as having a body mass index (BMI) equal to or greater than 30.

BMI is calculated as the weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared, rounded to one decimal place.

Obesity-related conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, are the leading causes of death in the U.S.  In 2010, 12 states had obesity rates of 30% or more. As Americans become bigger, many businesses focus on the impact on their overall healthcare costs but are ignoring how it impacts others.  Look at the ever over crowded airplane where airlines continue to allow overly obese passengers to purchase a single coach seat and occupy a portion of the adjoining passenger seat(s) next to them.  Same with commuter buses, trains, restruarants, etc.

Obesity can affect all ages and rungs of the social ladder, but there has been a recent spotlight on processed foods as obesity rates are high in low-income families who tend to consume great volumes of these ready-made snacks and meals to stretch their household budget.

The obesity epidemic is a problem that costs the government billions of dollars every year.  CDC estimates medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at $147 billion in 2008. Medical costs for obese people paid for by third parties were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight individuals.  One recent health study found that the percentage of Medicare beneficiaries who were obese rose from 21% in 1997 to 29% in 2006.  This leaves many to wonder why not put a higher sales tax on unhealthy foods similar to the cigarette taxe as a way to fund the $200 billion it costs each year to treat diabetes which is directly related to obesity.   Especially with 78 million Americans being pre-diabetic on top of the 25 million Americans who are diabetic.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 May 2013 12:36PM