Obesity health care costs add up

Obesity health care costs add up
October 16 01:00 2015

Obesity health care costs add up

Nearly two in three Western New York adults – 722,000 people – are either overweight or obese, according to a new report from Univera Healthcare.

Excess annual medical spending in the region attributable to overweight and obesity is estimated at $808 million.

“In Western New York there are enough adults whose body mass index categorizes them as overweight or obese to fill Ralph Wilson Stadium about 10 times,” Dr. Richard Vienne, Univera Healthcare vice president and chief medical officer, said.

Those individuals are more likely to develop serious medical conditions that can affect their quality of life and also contribute to the rising cost of health care, Vienne said.

Overweight and obesity rates among adults in Western New York – 63.4 percent combined – are similar to those found statewide and across the country.

The Univera report, “The facts about overweight and obesity rates among upstate New York adults, 2013-2014,” correlates obesity with arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease and stroke. In addition, obesity is associated with cancer, gallbladder disease and chronic back pain, and new evidence shows that it increases the risk of depression.

Key points in the report of Upstate New York adults include:

• Those who are obese are almost twice as likely (32.1 percent) as those of normal weight (16.2 percent) to be limited in their activities due to physical, mental or emotional problems. Slightly more than a third report having no activity in the previous month.

• Men have higher rates of overweight and obesity than women, 71 percent versus 56 percent.

• Three of every four people ages 55 to 64 fall into one of those categories and so do 71.5 percent of those who earn $15,000 to $24,999.

• About 55 percent of college graduates fall into the categories, compared to 68.2 percent who did not graduate from high school.

• Four of five people who are unable to work are obese or overweight.

Compared to someone of normal weight, an overweight person incurs an estimated $310 in annual incremental health care costs; an obese person an estimated $2,005. In New York, overweight and obesity contributes $8.7 billion in excess annual medical costs, including $2.5 billion in excess costs upstate.ual med

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