One in Four Americans Obese

One in four Americans is now obese, says the CDC. While it’s less than welcome news, you can hardly say it’s surprising – we’ve been growing fatter as a nation for decades.

That dead weight is sure to hamper our healthcare system and the economy as a whole, but its boom time for device makers so disposed. In the U.S., doctors perform 140,000 gastric bypass surgeries each year.

24 million Americans have diabetes, an increase of 3 million people in just two years, according to the CDC – that’s 8 percent of the U.S. population. 25 percent of Americans 60 and up live with the condition and 57 million people are thought to have pre-diabetes.

According to the American Diabetes Association, in 2007, medical expenditures for diabetes was an estimated $116 billion: $27 billion for diabetes care, $58 billion for chronic diabetes-related complications, and $31 billion for excess general medical costs.

With escalating diabesity-related costs on the mind, Insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has offered a $700,000 annual grant to study the safety of bariatric surgery. As an incentive to participate, Blue Cross gave as much as $200,000 a year in additional reimbursements to hospitals.

About 1% of patients who are candidates for gastric bypass surgery actually have the procedure. Mortality risk has been cited a major deterrent to broader use.

By region, the prevalence of obesity was higher in the South (27.3%) and Midwest (26.5%). Obesity prevalence was >30% in three states: Alabama (30.3%), Mississippi (32.0%), and Tennessee (30.1%). I blame air conditioning.

The comments are closed.