Tobacco, Obesity Key In Second Obama Term
By David Pittman, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today // January 23, 2013
EDITOR’S NOTE: Today, 20% of the adult U.S. population smokes, and 35% of adults are considered obese, defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher.
It is well established, and a Mayo Clinic study chronicled here in SpaceCoastDaily in April of last year confirmed that both obesity and smoking contribute to higher individual healthcare costs. Compared to nonsmokers, average healthcare costs were $1,275 higher for smokers, with incremental costs associated with obesity even higher at $1,850 more than for normal-weight individuals. For those with morbid obesity the excess costs were up to $5,500 per year.
Poor life-style and health choices cost companies thousands of dollars annually in preventable medical care costs. Add to that lower productivity, higher disability payments and more time lost from work from the complications associated with these conditions.
Smoking and obesity place a growing strain on a healthcare system that is already battling progressive cost challenges. The article from MedpageToday excerpted below describes how the Obama administration plans to focus special attention and resources on quit-smoking and obesity prevention programs during his second term.
WASHINGTON–The second term of an Obama administration will be marked for implementing key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but the president also wants to focus on lowering tobacco use and obesity rates, a senior administration official said.
Obama and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plan to release a number of new initiatives in these areas while continuing already launched programs, according to Howard Koh, MD, MPH, HHS assistant secretary for health.
“In the second term, we’re eager to reaffirm and re-energize our commitment to the public health,” Koh told MedPage Today in an interview Friday.
One in three adults is considered obese, along with one in five children, said Koh, who serves as the senior health adviser to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Meanwhile, tobacco kills 1,200 people a day and each deceased smoker is replaced by two new youth smokers.
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