Caring for America’s obese is costing as much as $147 billion each year, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Leaders in healthcare gathered in Washington, D.C. over the weekend for the inaugural Weight of the Nation conference to discuss the study, titled “Annual Medical Spending Attributable to Obesity: Payer- and Service-Specific Estimates.”
The results show that insurance companies and programs like Medicare and Medicade pay about $1,429 more for health care than people of a normal weight did in 2006. The difference in costs is about 9.1 percent which is up from 6.5 percent in 1998.
To tackle the issue, the CDC is launching a set of programs to encourage a healthy diet and regular exercise for the nation’s communities.
“It is critical that we take effective steps to contain and reduce the enormous burden of obesity on our nation”, said the organization’s director, Thomas Frieden. “These new recommendations and their proposed measurements are a powerful and practical tool to help state and local governments, school districts, and local partners take necessary action.”
The CDC is also partnering with the International City/County Management Association to provide 20 communities with the weight-control info. Cities in Minnesota and Massachusetts are now testing the measures through their state health departments to determine if it’s effective.
“Obesity is a risk for a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers,” said William H. Dietz, director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity. “Reversing this epidemic requires a multifaceted and coordinated approach that uses policy and environmental change to transform communities into places that support and promote healthy lifestyle choices for all people.”