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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Impact of Obesity on Health Care Costs
03/10/2008

Click to listen to this taped broadcast.

I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

Two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and 32 percent of adults in the United States are obese, compared to 15 percent in 1976, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The impact of obesity on health care costs is staggering. A study by RAND Corporation revealed that obesity has a more significant impact on the development of chronic disease than poverty, heavy drinking, or daily smoking. And like many other health risks, obesity is preventable.

A recent study by the Partnership for Prevention showed that obesity screening, coupled with intensive intervention and long term maintenance programs, could effectively reduce the number of heart attacks, colon cancer and breast cancer cases by 3 percent nationwide.

Reversing the trend of obesity in our country is going to take commitment on the part of health care, government, employers, and individuals alike. Employers have an important part to play in recognizing the obesity epidemic as a threat to our economy as well as our health, and taking steps to help employees reach and maintain a healthy weight.

To improve, manage and promote employee health, employers can offer a variety of programs, including behavior modification that supports a healthier lifestyle. Some estimates say that for every $100 spent on health promotion, employers could see a $300 return on investment.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial, I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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