Friday, September 24, 2010

The cost of obesity

I saw this article yesterday, but I think it came out on Wednesday.  Of course I knew that the medical costs of obesity were high, when you consider the extra doctor’s visits and the spendy prescription drugs obese people take for cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, acid reflux and type 2 diabetes, but also from sleep apnea and knee, ankle and back injuries from carrying all that weight around.   The study also threw in assumed costs of lost wages from discrimination from being fat, for women more so than for men, and a cost for shortened lifespan.  The study was sponsored by a gastric band manufacturer, which of course, is interested in broader reimbursement for gastric band surgeries.  If only this was the answer!

Another recent study reported that while the BMI calculations and weight did decline for people who had gastric band surgery from 47 to 30.5, the BMI a year after surgery is still in the overweight range.  I thought it was interesting because the study was conducted at a hospital in my home town in Wisconsin.

Giving everyone a gastric band and still letting them live into their lifetime of bad habits is not going to make any difference, except for the money paid to the gastric band companies and the doctors who insert them.  If you do not deal with the reasons why people overeat and adjust poor eating habits and choices, the problem of obesity in America is not going to be resolved. 

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