27 September 2017

Save on Obesity

Losing weight at any age helps to reduce costs

Anna Kerman, XX2 century, based on Medical Xpress : Weight loss for adults at any age leads to cost savings, study suggests

The results of a new study conducted by the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, allow us to come to the conclusion that an adult of any age can save significantly by simply losing weight.

The study was published in the online journal Obesity (The Additional Costs and Health Effects of a Patient Having Overweight or Obesity: A Computational Model). The authors' conclusions are as follows: a twenty-year-old person who has moved from obesity to overweight, on average, will save $ 17,655 in medical expenses and expenses associated with a decrease in working capacity. If he returns to normal weight, his savings will average $28,020. The transition from the stage of obesity to overweight at the age of forty will save an average of $ 18,262, and from obesity to normal weight – $ 31,447.

An increased body mass index (BMI) is associated with an increased risk of developing serious ailments such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer. Consequently, a high BMI and related diseases can lead to large medical expenses.

More than 70% of the adult population of the United States is overweight or obese, which entails annual medical costs of almost $ 210 billion.

Bruce Y. Lee, executive director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at the Bloomberg School, explains: "More than half of the financial losses due to obesity are due to losses due to decreased performance, mainly due to missed working days. Counting exclusively medical expenses – although they are, of course, important – means that we miss most of the big picture. Productivity losses affect business, which affects the economy, and this, in turn, affects everyone."

If some employees are absent from the workplace, others are forced to take on a heavy workload. All this increases the public burden of obesity. The cost of insurance is also increasing, even for healthy people, because insurers distribute the "price of obesity" and concomitant diseases to everyone.

For the new study, scientists developed a mathematical model of the adult population of the United States, which reflected the costs and health effects of a person with obesity, overweight and normal weight, aged 20 to 80 years, in increments of 10 years. The data of the studies "Risk of coronary heart disease in young people" (Coronary Artery Disease Risk Development in Young Adults, CARDIA) and "Risk of atherosclerosis in the population" (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities, ARIC) were used. The model also used 15 mutually exclusive health conditions, representing all combinations of three categories of BMI (normal weight, overweight and obesity) and five stages of chronic diseases.

In order to track medical expenses and decreased performance, the weight and health of an adult in the course of life were modeled. Also included in the calculations were direct medical expenses for insurance and treatment, sick leave and disability.

The researchers found that they manage to save the most at the age of 50 – an average of $ 36,278. After 50 years, it is possible to reduce costs as much as possible when a person gets rid of obesity and returns to normal weight, which emphasizes the importance of weight loss with age. This discovery is of great importance, since more than 60% of the additional social costs are incurred by people aged 50 and older. This figure includes, among other things, increased taxes to support state insurance, increased surcharges and other direct costs.

"Most of the previous models took into account quite a few risk factors associated with obesity. Consequently, the estimated costs received were unrealistic," says Dr. Saideh Fallah–Fini, a former GOPC visiting expert, a member of the research team. – In developing our model, we took into account many factors associated with overweight, for example, high blood pressure or diabetes, as well as all the main factors affecting health in the long term, including heart disease and some cancers. This made it possible to realistically calculate the impact on health and expenses."

Thanks to the results of the new study, officials can develop more precise strategies aimed at specific segments of the population (according to age, current health status and weight). The data will also help doctors and other medical professionals in preventive work with patients with high BMI and concomitant diseases. These results will also be useful for patients themselves – they will allow them to understand how their current BMI and health status affect possible risks in the future and likely medical expenses.

Perhaps employers will realize the scale of the impact of obesity on the productivity of their employees and, consequently, on profits, and will change or introduce programs that encourage a healthy lifestyle and weight loss. This, in turn, will reduce the number of missed working days and improve labor productivity. "At the end of the day, the heart of a business is its employees," Lee says. "An unhealthy overweight employee is like an injured player on a football team."

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru  27.09.2017

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