Thorp and Sailor's Grave Board

US Health Cost may be highest because of obeisity

CR83 - 10-2-2007 at 04:07 PM

This is heavy:

WASHINGTON - Nearly twice as many U.S. adults are obese compared to European, a key factor leading Americans to suffer more often from cancer, diabetes and other chronic ailments, a study released on Tuesday found.

Treatment of these and other chronic diseases adds between $100 billion and $150 billion to the annual health care tab in the United States, according to the report comparing U.S. and European health published online in the journal Health Affairs.

The United States spends significantly more per capita than any European country on health care, about $2 trillion annually, or 16 percent of the gross domestic product. While the big discrepancy has been linked to higher U.S. prices for medical treatment, the report said a sicker population may also be a factor.

"We expected to see differences between disease prevalence in the United States and Europe, but the extent of the differences is surprising," said Ken Thorpe, professor of public health at Emory University and a study co-author. "It is possible that we spend more on health care because we are, indeed, less healthy."

A key factor in many chronic illnesses is obesity and smoking. About 33 percent of Americans are obese, compared with 17 percent in 10 European countries reviewed. More than half of Americans are former or current smokers, compared with about 43 percent in the European sample.

While Americans appeared to be on the whole sicker than adults in other industrialized countries, the study said more aggressive preventive care could help explain the results for some illnesses.

For example, the study found 12.2 percent of Americans are diagnosed with cancer, more than twice that of Europe. But that is likely due in part to more screening here, the study said.

Kid Ugly - 10-2-2007 at 11:09 PM

Not surprising... This is the kind of thinking that got a lot of corporations to start paying for gym membership and/or installing gyms of their own. They did the research and it turns out to be cheaper for them to do this because as the number of their employees working out goes up, the number of health insurance claims for the company goes down, and the more productive and less truant their employees are. This actually started at GM in Detroit, where they had trainers come in and had different assembly line workers train with different, job specific exercises to help prevent injury. For example, they had guys who put in tires all day (reaching up to drill in the lug nuts) do rotator cuff exercises.

CR83 - 10-3-2007 at 05:16 PM

Kid Ugly, you are exactly right. One of my clients has some incentive for employees when it comes to beenfits and health.

1. If your spouse or family is not put on the company benefits, you get a check for $1,500 every year.
2. They will cover up to $25 or $30 per month for a gym membership.

So fucking cool