Smoking and obesity are two continuingly big issues facing healthcare worldwide. Despite government intervention such as more graphic tobacco labelling, dietary guideline revision, advertising amendments and general scientific studies about how the two can damage health, individuals are still struggling to overcome them.
While the responsibility for each will depend entirely on individual situations, it is becoming clear that healthcare providers are facing high costs when it comes to dealing with these two issues. Given that smoking receives such high amounts of attention when it comes to associated costs, it may be surprising to find out that obesity actually costs far more to healthcare providers.
A study involving over 30,000 individuals was conducted in the United States, measuring health insurance coverage between 2001 and 2007. Obesity and smoking rates were compared side by side, with associated healthcare costs being measured. On average and in comparison to non-smokers, health costs were over £1000 more for smokers. For obesity sufferers, it was a full £1500 more. They found that this rate increased rapidly in cases of morbid obesity, where excess costs rose to around £5000 per year.
The difference is quite staggering financially and while this in no way indicates necessarily a physical health “cost”, it does put the two into very separate categories regarding healthcare. Systems in the United States and United Kingdom, particularly during the NHS debate, are already stretched thin regarding obesity and this is happening in two of the countries with the highest obesity rates worldwide.
Employers have already responded in the U.S., evaluating and establishing wellness programs designed to help quit smoking and improve fitness. It’s believed that at this point even a small improvement could have massive long-term results for the health of individuals, reducing health risk factors, while at the same time easing some of the pressure being put on healthcare providers.
This study offers new insight into the healthcare costs of obesity and smoking, and it’s very much expected that more research like this will be conducted and released in the future, hopefully with more solid solutions to decreasing the health risks attributed to obesity and smoking while reducing healthcare costs overall.
If you suffer from obesity and would like a prescription treatment to assist you with losing weight, you can buy the weight loss treatment Xenical online. Alternatively, you can find stop smoking treatments like Champix useful as well.