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Why Worry About Obesity?

Obesity is a serious disease that can lead to many medical complications, such as adult onset diabetes, hypertension ("high blood pressure"), sleep apnea, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides ("fats"), and several other common medical conditions (please see medical complications for further details). Let's examine obesity from two distinctly different perspectives - its effect on life expectancy (as shown in the table below) and that of the bean counter (no offense to the accounting or actuarial profession intended).

Obesity and Life Expectancy

Obesity significantly reduces life expectancy, as shown in the table below:

Years of life lost at age 40 in overweight and obese compared to normal weight, non-smokers.
Female Male
Overweight (BMI 25 to 30) and non-smoker -3.3 years -3.1 years
Obese (BMI over 30) and non-smoker -7.1 years -5.8 years
Overweight and smoker -7.2 years -6.7 years
Obese and smoker -13.3 years -13.7 years

Ref: Ann Intern Med. 2003;138:24-32

Why Worry About Obesity?

Bean counter view

Obesity significantly increases medical costs, as shown in the following graphic:

graph showing that in 1995 dollars, treatment of obesity complications of diabetes, stroke, hypertesnion, and coronary disease cost over 100 billion dollars

Ignoring overweight and obesity in a technologically advanced, humanistic society is not only ethically wrong, but financially irresponsible.

Updated: 27 December 2011

Copyright © 1996 -2011 Michael D. Myers, M.D., Inc.
All rights reserved.

Disclaimer Statement

The above information is for general purposes only and should not be construed as definitive or binding medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Because each person is medically different, individuals should consult their own personal physicians for specific information and/or treatment recommendations.