7 January 2015
Obese people, as well as those who smoke, spend far more on medical bills than those of a healthy weight, new research has stated.
The study from the University of Illinois found that, on average, obese patients can expect to spend $1,360 (around £900) per year on healthcare, while smokers will have to pay $1,046 over the same period.
Published in the journal Public Health, the expenses included inpatient and outpatient care, emergency room visits and prescription drugs.
"The added costs were not only large but also increased substantially over the last decade," said University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Ruopeng An.
To get his figures, Dr An analysed individual data from 125,955 participants involved in the 1996-2010 National Health Interview Surveys who also completed Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys.
Obesity-related healthcare costs increased by a quarter between 1998 and 2011, which was mainly driven by the rise in the expense of prescription drugs, Dr An said.
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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