Obesity Gobbles Up Health Dollars

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From Your Health Journal……”In New Zealand, as in other countries, obesity is quickly becoming a health issue for many individuals, but according to this article, it is also costing the country millions of dollars in lost productivity. The article did not get specific as to how work is slowing down, but calls for action are going out to the government to help alleviate this problem. Suggestions such as less TV ads of unhealthy foods, better labeling of unhealthy products, and preventing schools from selling unhealthy foods. Small steps like this can make a huge difference and getting people in New Zealand on a path to better health.”

From the article…..

Researchers say lost productivity from overweight workers is costing the country $98 million to $225 million.

New Zealand’s weight problem is gobbling up more than 4 per cent of what we spend on health care, according to a study out today.

That was $624 million, estimated to have been spent on health care for the obese and overweight in 2006. The sum includes both private and government spending.

Two-thirds of New Zealand adults are overweight or obese.

The researchers’ paper, in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, says studies in other countries, using different methods from the New Zealand analysis, have estimated the costs of obesity at between 2 per cent (Sweden) and 7.6 per cent (Australia) of national health spending.

The New Zealand study estimated lost productivity associated with being overweight and obese was worth between $98 million and $225 million.

The health care costs included spending on GP visits, drugs, hospital care, laboratory tests, allied health care (such as podiatrists) and aged residential care.

At 38 per cent, type 2 diabetes accounted for the greatest share of the health care costs followed by high blood pressure at 27 per cent. Of the cancers, bowel cancer had the highest level of expenditure at $7 million, or 1 per cent of the total.

The researchers said: “Policies and interventions are urgently needed to reduce the prevalence of obesity, thereby decreasing these substantial costs.”

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