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Obesity Economics - the Fight for a Healthy Economy

Autor:   •  March 22, 2016  •  Research Paper  •  2,338 Words (10 Pages)  •  341 Views

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The Fight for a Healthy Economy

Sara Graves

Economics Online 6160


Abstract


“The structure of the economy has made us obese. Businesses cater to what we want, whether what we want is really in our long-term interests or not.” (Rosenwald, 2006)  Obesity has impacted our economy both in negative and positive ways. We are trying to find ways to fight it, and yet we have found ways to adapt and finance off of one of the biggest issues in the United States.  Is fighting obesity the right answer, should the government get involved, and will it really help the economy overall if we overcome the epidemic?


The Fight for a Healthy Economy

“The structure of the economy has made us obese. Businesses cater to what we want, whether what we want is really in our long-term interests or not.” (Rosenwald, 2006)  Obesity has impacted our economy both in negative and positive ways. We are trying to find ways to fight it, and yet we have found ways to adapt and finance off of one of the biggest issues in the United States.  Is fighting obesity the right answer, should the government get involved, and will it really help the economy overall if we overcome the epidemic?

Overall Look at Obesity in the United States Economy

One of the biggest preventable chronic diseases in the United States is obesity.  Obesity is a condition associated with having excess body fat, having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and over.  Obesity increases your risk of developing related conditions such as diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, and cancer (among many others) linked to excess body weight, poor nutrition, and lack of physical activity.  The Campaign to End Obesity website states that two-thirds of adults and one-third of children struggle with weight and obesity creating a serious financial strain on the economy. “In 2010, John Crawley an economics professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY stated that medical-care costs have been raised by 315.8 billion by obesity alone.” (Ulrich, 2005)  Obesity has had its negative and positive effects on the U.S. economy, leading to the ultimate question: “Should the Government intervene more to help keep the obesity epidemic at bay?” Will it really have that much of an effect on the overall economy if we lessen the obese population, or will the economy remain the same?

Negative Effects of Obesity on the Economy

Obesity has had various negative impacts on the U.S. economy.  This includes health care costs, productivity costs, payouts for sick leave, etc. (Stilwell, 2015) “In 2014, an analysis was done for The Fiscal Times; the report showed that the annual cost of obesity at $305.1 billion.” (Pianin, 2014)  The medical spending and high cost of obesity causes serious implications for federal and state budgets. Just at the state level “a substantial share of Medicaid spending goes for treating overweight people – ranging from six percent to 20 percent of overall spending.” (Pianin, 2014)

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