Economic cost of obesity

by Benjamin Brunet

A few years ago, obesity was consider a major problem in our society. Nowadays, we unfortunately start thinking it is not a concern any more cause of all the publicity made about sport and and health. But it is still a problem in many country especially in North America. It increases the risk of developing conditions and that increases the economic cost. According to Harvard school of public health, two types of cost are associated with the treatment of obesity: direct cost and indirect cost. The first one is all the medical services offered to obese like surgery and drug therapy. For example, in United States, they spent between $147 and $210 billion a year according to the web site State of Obesity. It is nearly 10% of their annual medical spending. In Canada, it is less alarming but it is still not good. We spend $4,6 to $7,1 billion annually according to Canadian Obesity Network. But this type of cost is just the one we can put number on it. The second type of cost, indirect cost, is the most difficult to identify because it is related to insurance, wage and value of lost work. Obese people could develop diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Those health issue are just a few of the problem they can develop. People with those problem have more chance to missed a days of work or they won’t work at full capacity. These are problems of our modern society and we must find a way to overcome this or the economic impact will keep growing. The key to cost reduction is the prevention on our children. We should encourage them to do sport, other than physical education class, and we should teach them what is a good alimentation and start doing it with them to show example. Maybe it will help us to.

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