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Economic Impact of Obesity: Literature Review - Essay Example

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Economic Impact of Obesity Introduction Obesity has become a common social problem in not only the United States, but also all around the world. However, there is no universal definition of obesity…
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Economic Impact of Obesity: Literature Review
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Economic Impact of Obesity: Literature Review

There are distinctions for males and females, as well. For males, it is about 25%, while for females; it remains around 32% (Emedicine, n.p). Obesity has various health hazards, and it leads to common psychological problems. However, there remains another dimension of obesity. Obesity may have economic consequences, as well. This dimension may come across as a surprise to many individuals. However, obese people are an economic burden on the health care system. In the United States alone, the medical costs involving obese individuals stood at the figure of $147 billion (CDC, n.p). In developed countries alone, the medical costs of obesity cost around 10% of the total medical costs. Such costs also come under projection to grow (MODI, n.p). The paper, through the examination of different case studies examines the economic impacts of obesity, involving burden on the health care system, the direct as well as the indirect economic costs of obesity and the way obesity often leads to inactivity. Literature Review Since obesity has become widely known as an epidemic, numerous studies have been conducted on the purpose of assessing the economic impacts of obesity. A study by Ross A Hamond and Ruth Levine in 2010 in United States alone found out the different dimensions within the economic impacts of obesity (Hammond & Levine, pp. 285-294), which included direct medical costs, productivity costs, transportation costs and human capital costs. The purpose of this study (Hammond & Levine, pp. 285-294) was to review all the current evidence found on this particular subject. Some of the direct costs were described, which included the treatment of psychological problems such as hypertension, depression, which occurs due to obesity. Moreover, the health conditions include Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and hypercholesterolemia. Many of these costs attribute to the research and the treatment of these problems, which poses a financial burden on medical resources. The study also mentions and elaborates the Thompson model of finding out the incidence between obesity and some particular outcomes. In this study (Hammond & Levine, pp. 285-294), a topic of interest also remains over the agreement between various studies about the economic impacts of obesity, but there are some important differences between the studies. Productivity costs, although not completely direct also examine the way obesity may pose an economic burden to the resources of a country. This problem focuses much on the productivity lost due to obesity in the labor market. It includes two dimensions: absenteeism, in which the worker is not present at the workplace because of healthcare reasons and presenteeism, in which the workers exhibit lower productivity while at work. Sometimes, obesity may also lead to disability, which further results in inactivity. Disability insurance premiums and inactivity constitutes part of indirect costs. The study mentions another example from Thompson, which found out that $5 billion were spent on indirect medical costs in 1994 in United States alone, in the form of sick leaves, life insurance and disability insurance. This particular paper by Hamond and Levine (pp. 285-294) also examined the transportation costs, associated with obesity. Overweight people tend to fit in large vehicles. They are less likely to travel by public and therefore wastage of fuel occurs. Moreover, obesity has been found by different scholars to lead to low self-esteem, lower educational attainment, and lower income, leading to low ... Read More
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