Obesity, stress among factors predicting high health care costs

March 13, 2002


Obesity, stress and other risk factors are important predictors of health care costs and service use among young employed adults, according to a new study.

"Lifestyle factors play a significant role in the ongoing battle against morbidity, mortality and health care costs," say researchers Larry A. Tucker, Ph.D, and Alan G. Clegg, MS, of Brigham Young University in the March/April issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion. "Clearly, differences in medical utilization and expenses cannot be attributed solely to health status or risks. However, the present findings indicate that health risks help to explain some of the differences in utilization and costs."

Employees and spouses at a technology-oriented company in the western United States voluntarily participated in worksite health screening, and their health care use and costs were then tracked for two years. The risk assessment appraised overall wellness, exercise habits, obesity and stress. The relationship between the study participants' potential health risk factors and their health care utilization and costs were then evaluated.

The 982 subjects had an average of 18 medical claims and incurred an average of $1,878 in medical costs during the two years. Those with high-risk scores for overall wellness, stress and obesity used more health care services and had higher health care costs than those who were at lower risk. However, exercise habits were not associated with participants' use of health care services or their health care costs.

People with high risk on the scale of overall wellness were nearly 2.4 times more likely than the others to have health care expenses of $5,000 or more over the two years. People with high stress were 1.9 times more likely and obese people were 1.7 times more likely to have expenses at that level, the researchers found.

The study participants were 18 to 68 years of age, with an average age of 32 years. More than half of the participants (55.7 percent) were women, and most of the participants were white and worked in clerical, sales or administrative jobs. Only 17 of the subjects were current smokers, so cigarette smoking was not used as a potential predictor of health care utilization or costs in the study.

"In short," the researchers conclude, "it appears that businesses with employees that live healthy lifestyles will benefit by lower health care utilization and costs."
The American Journal of Health Promotion is a bimonthly peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the field of health promotion. For information about the journal call (248) 682-0707 or visit the journal's website at www.healthpromotionjournal.com.

Posted by the Center for the Advancement of Health http://www.cfah.org. For more research news and information, go to our special section devoted to health and behavior in the "Peer-Reviewed Journals" area of Eurekalert!, http://www.eurekalert.org/restricted/reporters/journals/cfah/. For information about the Center, call Ira Allen, iallen@cfah.org (202) 387-2829.

Center for Advancing Health

Related Obesity Articles from Brightsurf:

11 years of data add to the evidence for using testosterone therapy to treat obesity, including as an alternative to obesity surgery
New research covering 11 years of data presented at this year's European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) show that, in obese men suffering from hypogonadism (low testosterone), treatment with testosterone injections lowers their weight and improves a wide range of other metabolic parameters.

Overlap between immunology of COVID-19 and obesity could explain the increased risk of death in people living with obesity, and also older patients
Data presented in a special COVID-19 session at the European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) suggests that there are overlaps between the immunological disturbances found in both COVID-19 disease and patients with obesity, which could explain the increased disease severity and mortality risk faced by obese patients, and also elderly patients, who are infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 disease.

New obesity guideline: Address root causes as foundation of obesity management
besity management should focus on outcomes that patients consider to be important, not weight loss alone, and include a holistic approach that addresses the root causes of obesity, according to a new clinical practice guideline published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.191707.

Changing the debate around obesity
The UK's National Health Service (NHS) needs to do more to address the ingrained stigma and discrimination faced by people with obesity, says a leading health psychologist.

Study links longer exposure to obesity and earlier development of obesity to increased risk of type 2 diabetes
Cumulative exposure to obesity could be at least as important as actually being obese in terms of risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D), concludes new research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]).

How much do obesity and addictions overlap?
A large analysis of personality studies has found that people with obesity behave somewhat like people with addictions to alcohol or drugs.

Should obesity be recognized as a disease?
With obesity now affecting almost a third (29%) of the population in England, and expected to rise to 35% by 2030, should we now recognize it as a disease?

Is obesity associated with risk of pediatric MS?
A single-center study of 453 children in Germany with multiple sclerosis (MS) investigated the association of obesity with pediatric MS risk and with the response of first-line therapy in children with MS.

Women with obesity prior to conception are more likely to have children with obesity
A systematic review and meta-analysis identified significantly increased odds of child obesity when mothers have obesity before conception, according to a study published June 11, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine by Nicola Heslehurst of Newcastle University in the UK, and colleagues.

Obesity medicine association announces major updates to its adult obesity algorithm
The Obesity Medicine Association (OMA) announced the immediate availability of the 2019 OMA Adult Obesity Algorithm, with new information for clinicians including the relationship between Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Dyslipidemia, and Cancer; information on investigational Anti-Obesity Pharmacotherapy; treatments for Lipodystrophy; and Pharmacokinetics and Obesity.

Read More: Obesity News and Obesity Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.