The Cost of Obesity

The OECD has put out its first report on trends in obesity. The prognosis isn’t good, particularly for the US, particularly for poorer women. Among the highlights:

  • One in 2 people is now overweight or obese in almost half of OECD countries. Rates are projected to increase further and in some countries 2 out of 3 people will be obese within ten years.
  • An obese person incurs 25% higher health expenditures than a person of normal weight in any given year. Obesity is responsible for 1-3% of total health expenditures in most OECD countries (5-10% in the United States).
  • A severely obese person is likely to die 8-10 years earlier than a person of normal weight.
  • Poorly educated women are 2 to 3 times more likely to be overweight than those with high levels of education, but almost no disparities are found for men.
  • Obese people earn up to 18% less than non-obese people.
  • Children who have at least one obese parent are 3 to 4 times more likely to be obese.
  • A comprehensive prevention strategy would avoid, every year, 155 000 deaths from chronic diseases in Japan, 75 000 in Italy, 70 000 in England, 55 000 in Mexico and 40 000 in Canada.
  • The annual cost of such strategy would be USD 12 per capita in Mexico, USD 19 in Japan and England, USD 22 in Italy and USD 32 in Canada. The cost per life year gained through prevention is less than USD 20 000 in these 5 countries.
  • A full press briefing is available here.

    3 Replies to “The Cost of Obesity”

    1. You left out the good news:

      “However, the reduction in life expectancy is so great that obese people incur lower health care costs over their lifetime (13% less, according to a Dutch study) than those of normal weight – but more than smokers, on average.”

    2. Something that is often, and usually is overlooked in causing obesity, particularly in poor women, who one would think would be thinner due to access to less food, is
      the use of prescription drugs.

      More women than men, particularly in poor populations, are given “for free” anti-depressants and other drugs, many of which have the common side-effect of weight gain, and hormone imbalance.
      Causes of death, frequently are a result of prescribed drugs, by ineffectiveness, and side-effects.

      When evaluating health issues, addressing pharmaceutical industry involvement should be done.

      The nature of pharmacy, is that cause of death, or decreased
      life-expectancy, ends up disguised.

    Comments are closed.