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90% of all health care cost in US due to preventable illnesses

Discussion in 'Health' started by Dr.Who, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. Dr.Who

    Dr.Who Well-Known Member

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    Yep, you read that right. 90% of all the cost the US spends on health care goes to pay for treatments for illness that we bring on ourselves because we are fat, lazy, smoke, and eat poorly.

    http://www.preventdisease.com/worksite_wellness/health_stats.shtml

    In another report:

    John Smith, from a health care perspective, is a typical American.
    He is a 56-year-old white male living in a suburban city in the United States. He has been an on-again, off-again smoker throughout his life but recently quit -- something he is proud of.
    He is 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 190 pounds, and he knows he could probably stand to lose a few pounds. Scientists would calculate his body mass index at 28, a classification that qualifies him as overweight.
    As John Smith prepares for retirement, he also realizes that 18 percent of his income goes toward health care costs, and he wonders why he is paying so much.
    John Smith is not real. But he does represent the type of average American over age 50 examined in a study published this week by researchers at Emory University's School of Public Health.
    And according to the study, it may be Americans' own habits that are driving health care costs in the United States.
    The average American spends more than $6,000 each year on health care -- the highest amount in the world and twice as much as Europeans spend. In the past, the most common reasons cited for this difference were increased access to medical providers, higher use of advanced technologies, and higher prices for services.
    However, the study in this week's issue of the journal Health Affairs suggests that Americans' obesity and smoking habits may be partly to blame, and may be costing Americans $100 billion to $150 billion per year.

    Chronic Ills Mean Costly Care

    Researchers examined the rates of 10 of the most common and costly chronic illnesses among those over age 50. The illnesses included diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, heart disease, high cholesterol, chronic lung disease, asthma, osteoporosis, stroke and cancer.
    Overall, the rates were significantly higher in the United States than in Europe. In most cases, Americans were also more likely to receive medications for the same medical diagnosis.
    The researchers also looked for potential reasons to explain why Americans have higher rates of disease than Europeans. One glaring finding from the study was that obesity and smoking were more prevalent in the United States.
    Thirty-three percent of Americans were obese, compared with only 17 percent of Europeans. In addition, 53 percent of Americans had smoked at some point in their lives, compared with 43 percent of Europeans.
    In addition, every chronic illness closely linked to obesity or smoking was more common in the United States.
    Lead study author Kenneth Thorpe, a professor of health policy at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health and former deputy assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, said that some of the findings were surprising.
    "We had some idea of what we would find," said Thorpe. "We knew that obesity and smoking rates would be higher in the U.S. But the extent of the differences, especially with some of the chronic illnesses such as hypertension, heart disease and diabetes, was higher than we anticipated."
    According to the study, Americans were more than 50 percent more likely to have high blood pressure or diabetes, almost twice as likely to have heart disease, and 2½ times more likely to have arthritis.

    Cont.
     
  2. Dr.Who

    Dr.Who Well-Known Member

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    Cont.

    This added burden of disease has led to higher health costs overall. If the United States could improve its population's health to have the same levels of chronic illness as Europeans do, Americans would save between $1,200 and $1,750 per year each on medical bills, the researchers found.
    All told, the higher rates of disease are costing Americans between $100 billion and $150 billion per year, or 13 percent to 19 percent of total health care spending for those age 50 and over.
    According to Thorpe, these findings could have a significant impact on strategies to control health care costs in America.
    "If you are going to craft effective interventions," said Thorpe, "you have to understand where we are spending the money and what is driving costs over time."

    Good for the Body, Good for Bankroll

    The good news, Thorpe said, is that many of the differences in the study are likely due to reversible causes -- causes Americans have control over. "The underpinnings of our findings deal with modifiable factors such as weight, exercise and smoking."
    Some experts believe that the relatively poor performance by Americans may become an instigator for personal change.
    "What's new is that other people like us are healthier," said Dr. David Katz, associate professor of public health at Yale University. "Europeans are doing better, and we are doing worse. This relatively bad performance might be a motivator."
    Others, however, say the findings show that large-scale changes are needed. "A normal weight and healthy lifestyle is very clearly a huge health benefit, especially regarding chronic diseases," said Keith Ayoob, associate professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "There needs to be a national call to action to address prevention and treatment of obesity and cessation of smoking."
    Dr. George Blackburn, associate professor of nutrition at Harvard Medical School, had a much more targeted message to the readers of Thorpe's study.
    "Figure out a motivator to eat less, eat healthy and exercise," he said. "We could save a lot of money if we had a healthier lifestyle. It would be more fun, and it would feel and taste good."

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Diet/story?id=3683683&page=1#.UKXOTXqDPCU
     
  3. Cruella

    Cruella Well-Known Member

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    My grandparents didn't have health care and hardly ever saw a doctor and were never hospitalized or a burden to anyone. Two were overweight. The other two smoked. Two died of a heart attack, and two died of a stroke. They were also in their 90's. I think the common thing that gave them long lives, wasn't access to health care or health food, but that they worked their butts off and were proud and grateful for what they had achieved.
     
  4. GenSeneca

    GenSeneca Well-Known Member

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    None of which would be an issue if it weren't for our policies of forced collectivism.
     
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  5. Dr.Who

    Dr.Who Well-Known Member

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    Yes, once your neighbors health becomes involuntarily a part of your business rather than his own then that opens the doors to all sorts of problems.

    if his sloth is going to cost all of us then first we try public service announcements to get him to go to the gym, then we tax his junk food, then we punish his weight, then...it becomes ever more strong arm because that is the inevitable end of collectivism.
     
  6. PLC1

    PLC1 Moderator Staff Member

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    According to this, the stats in the article in the OP are out of date. I couldn't find an actual date on it, but costs seem to have gotten a lot worse since it was published.


    Three years ago, we were spending almost 8,000 per person, $2,000 more than was cited. I have no doubt that we're spending more now, and will be spending even more in the near future. Obviously, this trend can't be allowed to continue.


    This is the key:

    Ideas anyone?
     
  7. Cruella

    Cruella Well-Known Member

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    Find out why some people crave certain foods and others don't. For instance, some people I've met don't like sweets, and other people seem to crave sweets???? There must be a physical or chemical reason why. Same with people who overeat or don't eat enough to have good nutrition. Being thin doesn't mean healthy.
     
  8. dogtowner

    dogtowner Moderator Staff Member

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    the chinese figured this out ages ago but the point remains, people have to want it and if they do, its easy enough to accomplish. fact is its easier to take a pill and eat the Twinkies (bad example huh...).
     
  9. PLC1

    PLC1 Moderator Staff Member

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    That seems to be the solution that is often pitched, but only so that the makers of the pills can make money. The only sure way to lose fat is to exercise more and eat less.

    Cruella's right: Being thin does not necessarily mean being fit. Being fat generally means not being fit, but there can be exceptions.

    Should people who are fit get a break on health insurance, or health care fees? How would they prove themselves fit?
     
  10. dogtowner

    dogtowner Moderator Staff Member

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    you could make the case that they already do to an extent. they simply do not use it much.
    of course they get less benefit from the insurance that represents a pool to cover all but fewer copays is fewer copays.

    they already get breaks in many insurance plans and have for decades, not dramatic perhaps but offered none the less. as you can see, it makes little difference. people have to want it and if they do they do it without bribes. thats a little like cash for clunkers where the money just went to people who would have bought a car regardless.

    you have to get into people's heads and that is very difficult and, to date, impossible. if it were possible chemically you would have to go stealth and put it in the water.

    but thats a creepy thought.
     
  11. Cruella

    Cruella Well-Known Member

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    I don't see how. I knew of a health nut who droped dead of a heart attack at age 37. My grandmother was heavy all of her life and had a few bad vices besides. She made it to 93, lived on her own and died after taking a bad fall. There are way too many differences in people's physical make-up to base medical outcomes on. I believe a lot of it is genetic.
     
  12. dogtowner

    dogtowner Moderator Staff Member

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    kind of proves P's point about what it or is not fit. I'd say a m ixed bag of genetic, environmental and just shitty luck.
     
  13. GenSeneca

    GenSeneca Well-Known Member

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    Yes, end the policies of forced collectivism. You only care how much it costs because you're on the hook for your neighbors HC costs. My recommendation: Freedom. Cut the velvet chains of slavery that bind his HC to your wallet and things are how they should be, we'd be free to live as we wish - consequences and all - without the coercive force of government attempting to regulate us into "healthy" lifestyles.

    The fact that so many people are actually interested in how to get people to improve their health scares me, it's none of our damn business, so any "ideas" would only fuel the paternalistic statism that's already a nightmare infernal machine.
     
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  14. Dr.Who

    Dr.Who Well-Known Member

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    People with airbags drive mroe recklessly than people without.

    People who paid for their own insurance and healthcare would be more careful with their life choices. People who get a free ride think that if someone else is taking care of it then they can be reckless with thei health. A false sense of invincibility.

    Of course the dept of ag and other gov departments are heavily influenced by large corporations. The widely distributed food pyramid recommends unhealthy habits in the name of good health. yes I oppose corporatism as much as the left. I just see the solution as one that does not restrict the freedom of citizens but instead restricts the actions of officials who take an oath to follow the constitution but don't.
     
  15. Dr.Who

    Dr.Who Well-Known Member

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    Unless it was the statism that was causing people to be reckless and reducing statism would cause people to improve their health.
     
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