Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

4 Bumps

Is the cost of obesity burdening your area?

 

The Cost of Obesity to U.S. Cities

A looming problem for city leaders: Healthcare costs are stifling the businesses that stimulate jobs and growth

 

City leaders across the country face tight budgets, decreasing revenues, and unemployment challenges. And, as Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index data reveal, they also face another looming problem: high obesity rates that are accompanied with astronomical healthcare costs.

According to its 2009 studies of 187 U.S. metro areas, Gallup estimates that the direct costs associated with obesity and related chronic conditions are about $50 million per 100,000 residents annually in cities with the highest rates of obesity. The direct and additional hidden costs of obesity are stifling businesses and organizations that stimulate jobs and growth in U.S. cities.

 

Obesity's healthcare costs are not distributed equally across the nation, and definitely not across U.S. cities. The majority of cities Gallup studied need to cut their obesity rates by at least a quarter to come close to the national goal of 15% set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cities with the highest rates of obesity need to cut their rates by more than half.

From a cost savings perspective, if all 187 cities reduced their obesity rates to 15%, the U.S. could save $32.6 billion in healthcare costs annually. Additionally, if the nation's 10 most obese cities cut their rates to the national 2009 average of 26.5%, they could collectively save nearly $500 million in healthcare costs each year. Cut to 15%, the cost savings would climb to nearly $1.3 billion annually.

Gallup is able to calculate the incremental cost of healthcare per year for each of these cities by multiplying the estimated additional direct annual healthcare costs for an obese person ($1,429 per person per year) by the population, then multiplying that by the obesity rate. A city of 100,000 citizens with a 20% obesity rate, for example, will have an incremental healthcare cost of $28,580,000 ($1,429 X 100,000 X 0.20 =$28,580,000).

Twenty-one metro areas -- led by Montgomery, Alabama and Stockton, California -- earned the unhappy distinction of having obesity rates of 31% or higher in 2009, based on their residents' self-reported height and weight. In the 10 most obese cities, where at least one-third of residents reported a body mass index (BMI) higher than 30, the annual obesity cost per 100,000 residents was about $50 million. This is roughly twice the cost per 100,000 residents in the least obese cities.

 

Do you think a lack of personal responsibility impacts healthcare costs? Will any government program MAKE people own up to THEIR responsibility for THEIR health?

Answer Question
 
grlygrlz2

Asked by grlygrlz2 at 11:25 PM on Jun. 1, 2011 in Politics & Current Events

Level 39 (106,530 Credits)
Answers (34)
  • Doesn't "the system" encorage obesity with it's emphasis on buy this, buy that, spend your money to stimulate the economy; heck, advertising is so over-the-top, and if you follow the "recommended daily intake" of everything, you'd have to be eating huge amounts of stuff. Yes, people need to take personal responsibilty, but we live within an environment which is largely dictated by consumerism and a greedy capitalist government coupled with a popular mentality that it is right and good to "spoil yourself" that makes our lifestyle and values very conducive to over-indulgnece in food.
    judimary

    Answer by judimary at 11:31 PM on Jun. 1, 2011

  • Doesn't "the system" encorage obesity with it's emphasis on buy this, buy that, spend your money to stimulate the economy; heck, advertising is so over-the-top, and if you follow the "recommended daily intake" of everything, you'd have to be eating huge amounts of stuff


    I'm a consumer. I am not swayed by marketing schemes... If the MAJORITY of consumers took responsibility for their actions and DEMANDED better choices, then companies would work hard to supply the demand.... But if consumers choose unhealthy crap over healthy choices, companies will work to meet the demand. The ball is really in the CONSUMERS hands.  

    grlygrlz2

    Comment by grlygrlz2 (original poster) at 11:35 PM on Jun. 1, 2011

  • we live within an environment which is largely dictated by consumerism and a greedy capitalist government coupled with a popular mentality that it is right and good to "spoil yourself" that makes our lifestyle and values very conducive to over-indulgnece in food.


    I read this as too many americans have made excuses for poor choices because of greedy capitalism?  Ahhh no!  Capitalism is dependent on the CONSUMER....  So, if consumers demand better, businesses will provide.  It's all about personal responsibility.  No government intervention will MAKE people more responsible for their choices and actions...  A good part of the health care cost issue in America is the fault of Americans poor choices... Not greedy capitalism.

    grlygrlz2

    Comment by grlygrlz2 (original poster) at 11:39 PM on Jun. 1, 2011

  • It may sound cruel, but if we actually go into a second depression ~ and the gov't. stopped handing out FS ~ a lot of the obesity problem would be cured. People who scoff at rice and beans, who turn their noses up at fresh fruit/veggies, who can't be bothered with cooking unless it involves a box/add water or dumping something out of a can or plastic bag might actually learn to cook. People with no money aren't going to be indulging (and definitely not overindulging) in soda, sugar, and takeout.

    On the other hand, the insurance that costs so much is part of the problem ~ because people who insist on making bad choices get the resulting problems paid for. It's one thing if a person is actually ill. It's another if they overeat to the point of illness and keep driving up the ins. rates and the overall costs.

    Yes, fat people DO cost more ~ whether it is for health care or soap. It sounds mean, but it's the truth.
    Farmlady09

    Answer by Farmlady09 at 11:55 PM on Jun. 1, 2011

  • A government program to force personal responsibility....hmmm....


    Seems like an oxymoron to me.

    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:21 AM on Jun. 2, 2011

  • It IS an oxymoron anon. The only way to possibly MAKE people take responsibility for their own lives is to remove any government aid that allows them to avoid and/or evade those responsibilities. Since our system has evolved into a socialist nightmare the past few decades, any program they come up with now is only going to worsen the problem. We have too many people who only care about themselves, who want it all (and they want it NOW), and anyone that gets in their way becomes a doormat or another rung on the ladder. It doesn't seem to matter if you apply that to Big Macs or a promotion or just the newest gizmo. Expecting people to be responsible about their food and exercise choices is a waste of time. If they want it, they buy it. If they can't afford it they use gov't. aid to buy it or steal it.

    Removing gov't. aid now would mean taking that entire budget and putting it into the police force and the NG for awhile.
    Farmlady09

    Answer by Farmlady09 at 12:39 AM on Jun. 2, 2011

  • It is hard to see how government programs could be designed to cure the obesity epidemic but the impacts on health costs have been well researched . The increase in juvenile diabetes for example has been so startling that it has been estimated that one in three born after the year 2000 could develop the condition. The costs of treating this condition alone will be huge if the forecast is anywhere near correct .

    Better health education and possiibly restictions on advertising aimed at young people could have some impact but otherwise I cannot see what governments at any level can do.


    janet116

    Answer by janet116 at 12:41 AM on Jun. 2, 2011


  • And NO we should not pay for any of it! Make them pay, that will keep them from being obese.
    gammie

    Answer by gammie at 1:05 AM on Jun. 2, 2011

  • OK this may sound awful but IMO I am not obese never have been never will be. If others obesity issues start to personally impact me I'm gonna smack a B****, and if I get one more phone call to support closing down or changing menus at mc donalds because some can't control how many big macs they eat I'm gonna smack some one. I wont make fun of the obese but it's not my fault so leave my way of life the hell alone.
    hot-mama86

    Answer by hot-mama86 at 4:51 AM on Jun. 2, 2011

  • I don't live anywhere near McAllen, but the cost of this to the state has an impact on all taxpayers.

    QuinnMae

    Answer by QuinnMae at 9:21 AM on Jun. 2, 2011

Join CafeMom now to contribute your answer and become part of our community. It's free and takes just a minute.
close Join now to connect to
other members!
Connect with Facebook or Sign Up Using Email

Already Joined? LOG IN