Obesity rates are increasing dramatically. There was only a small increase in the number of people who were overweight or obese between 1960 and 1980. However, although obesity has been increasing in the population as a percentage since 1980, its rate of increase is also increasing. The past 20 years have witnessed a distinct lifestyle change: society exercises less while maintaining the same calorie intake. The prevalence of obesity and its strong relationship with chronic diseases make it the number one public health problem.
Obesity is known to be a serious health risk. The adverse effects of other known health risks, such as obesity, smoking, alcohol abuse, and poverty, are well known. All of these cause serious chronic health problems. However, there has been no study comparing these until now. Which is more dangerous?
Health economist Roland Sturm and psychiatrist Kenneth Wells studied their impact on chronic health problems and health expenditures. The results were striking. Because obesity caused more chronic health problems than both smoking and alcoholism per person and required more health expenditure. And again, obesity affected more people than any other. For example, about 23 percent of Americans are obese. An additional 36 percent is overweight. By contrast, only 6 percent are heavy drinkers, 19 percent smoke daily, and 14 percent live in poverty.
Obese people complain about 67 percent more chronic conditions, compared to people with similar socioeconomic characteristics to normal weight individuals of similar age and gender. In contrast, the increase in daily smokers was only 25 percent and among those who consumed alcohol only 12 percent.
Similar to chronic diseases, obesity patients have much more healthcare costs than smokers. For example, obese individuals spend 21 percent more than smokers and 14 percent more than very heavy smokers. Compared to the general population, obese individuals spend 77 percent more on drugs.
Despite all this, public policies designed to combat obesity are relatively few. Efforts should be made to prevent obesity as well as to treat existing obese patients. Surgical methods are the only effective treatment of obesity today. Studies show that there is a serious increase in the quality of life after surgery and a serious decrease in chronic health problems. At the same time, there is a significant reduction in the health expenditures of patients. All these reveal that surgical treatment is also very advantageous in terms of health expenses. This issue must be examined in more depth and precautions must be taken. Because, unfortunately, the problem seems to grow even more in the coming years.
©2022 Prof. Dr. Cemal Kara. All rights reserved. Powered by Mergena | Seo by WiseSoft