Obese Workers' Health Care Costs Top Those of
FRIDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Obese workers have even
higher health costs than smokers, a new study finds.
Researchers examined data from more than 30,000 Mayo Clinic
employees and retirees who had continuous health insurance from
2001 to 2007.
The analysis revealed that both obesity and smoking were
associated with higher health care costs. Average yearly health
costs were $1,275 more for smokers than nonsmokers and $1,850 more
for obese people than those with normal weight.
Health care costs for morbidly obese people were up to $5,500
more a year than for normal weight people.
The additional health care costs associated with obesity
appeared to be lower after the researchers adjusted for other
accompanying health problems, but "this may lead to underestimation
of the true incremental costs, since obesity is a risk factor for
developing chronic conditions," wrote James Moriarty and colleagues
at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Employers are looking at ways to reduce health care costs --
such as quit-smoking and fitness programs -- and this study showed
that both obesity and smoking led to persistently higher health
care costs during the seven years examined by the researchers, the
study authors said.
The study was published in the March issue of the
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney
Diseases outlines the
health risks of being overweight.
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