Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Cost of Treating Obesity

Obesity is a recurring theme of many of the articles I've linked to here, not only because it's a problem for a greater proportion of the population but because people are becoming more aware and concerned about the growing effect it is having on things like healthcare.

The Wall Street Journal, via the Freakonomics blog, writes about the cost of treating obesity. Treating obesity now accounts for 9.1 percent of all medical costs in this country. And the study cited says obese people spend 42 percent more on healthcare. So even those who are not obese should be concerned at how this strains the overall system.

Stephen Dubner says that obesity is "a self-inflicted condition any way you look at it" and argues that we should seriously consider the idea of fat taxes. I don't entirely agree with his statement that obesity is self inflicted, but people don't always make the best choices for themselves, despite awareness of health impacts. I'm guilty of it myself. But moderation is key. And for those who have more difficulty regulating themselves, it is possible that more taxes on certain fattening foods could encourage people to choose the healthier options.

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