Annual health-care expenses are substantially higher for smokers and the obese, compared with nonsmokers and people of healthy weight, according to a recent report in the journal Public Health.
In fact, obesity is actually more expensive to treat than smoking on an annual basis, the study concluded and the cost of treating both is borne by tax payers.
Obese people run up an average $1,360 in additional health-care expenses each year compared with the non-obese. The individual obese patient is also on the hook for $143 in extra out-of-pocket expenses, according to the report.
By comparison, smokers require an average $1,046 in additional health-care expenses compared with nonsmokers, and pay an extra $70 annually in out-of-pocket expenses.
Yearly expenses associated with obesity exceeded those associated with smoking in all areas of care except for emergency room visits, the study found.
“Obesity tends to be a disabling disease and while smokers die young, people who are obese live potentially longer but with a lot of chronic illness and disabling conditions.”
Those who weigh more also have medical expenses that increase more especially among those who are extremely obese. By the same token, older folks with longer smoking histories have substantially higher medical costs than younger smokers.
Health-care costs associated with obesity increased by 25 percent from 1998 to 2011 and those linked to smoking rose by nearly 30 percent.
To understand the financial impact of obesity and smoking, An analyzed data from nearly 126,000 participants in the 1996-2010 National Health Interview Surveys. The NHIS is the nation’s largest annual in-person household health survey. The study focused solely on health-care expenditures: hospital inpatient and outpatient care, emergency room treatment, physicians’ office visits, out-of-pocket expenses and prescription drug costs.
The rising cost of prescription drugs appeared to fuel the increase in health-care expenses related to obesity and smoking with pharmaceutical expenses associated with obesity and smoking were 62 percent and 70 percent higher, respectively, in 2011 than in 1998.
“In order to contain increasing health-care costs, we need to think more about how to prevent obesity rather than treating obesity, because treatment of obesity is much more expensive than prevention.”
We have the tools to help you quit smoking and lose weight. Acupuncture is a great treatment for both and, for those looking for weight loss options, Ideal Protein and Standard Process both have effective programs are doctors can assist you with.
SOURCES: Ruopeng An, Ph.D., assistant professor, kinesiology and community health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Bijan Borah, Ph.D., health economist, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; Public Health microsoft cloud .