Overweight men spend more on prescription drugs than normal-weight men

November 07, 2004

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 7 - As middle-aged men's weight goes up, so do their monthly costs for prescription drugs to treat heart disease risk factors and weight-related conditions, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2004. In a study of 328 men who participated in a health screening, normal-weight men spent an average of $22.84 per month at the pharmacy. Overweight men averaged $39.27 per month, and obese men spent $80.31 per month - about 3.5 times what their normal-weight counterparts spent.

"These are what we call 'real and immediate costs.' These are not the costs associated with an operation or serious event like a heart attack that might happen at some time in the future. Rather, this is what the men, or their employers, spend month after month on their prescription drugs," said Thomas G. Allison, Ph.D., M.P.H., lead author of the study and a consultant in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

The researchers studied male business executives, average age 47, who had been sent by their companies to have physical examinations at Mayo Clinic's Executive Physical program between January 2001 and May 2002. The men, who did not have heart disease and were first-time participants in the program, had a cardiovascular risk factor evaluation as part of their exams.

Allison and his colleagues tallied the cost of drugs prescribed to the men as a result of their examinations. The tally also included the cost of prescriptions for drugs they were already taking.

Allison said that while he and colleagues had embarked on a study looking at something related to obesity, they were somewhat surprised at the health problems associated with the condition.

"We did not expect to see such significant health problems so strongly associated with weight, including degenerative joint disease, depression, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and more," Allison said. "We began to think, 'How could we quantify it?'"

One way to summarize the impact, the researchers concluded, was to figure out how much people in different weight categories spent each month at the pharmacy.

The researchers divided the subjects into weight categories: normal-weight men had a body mass index (BMI) of less than 25; overweight men had a BMI of 25 to 30; and obese men had a BMI higher than 30. Fifteen percent of the men studied were normal weight, 52 percent were overweight, and 32 percent were obese.

Pharmacy costs were subdivided into drugs prescribed to treat coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors and those for other medical conditions related to weight.

For normal-weight men, prescriptions for CHD risk factors cost $9.89 per month, and those for other medical conditions cost $12.96 per month. For overweight men, CHD-related prescriptions cost $18.41 per month and other prescriptions $20.86. For obese men, CHD-related drugs cost $42.02 per month and other drugs were $38.29.

All major CHD risk factors except smoking increased as BMI class increased. The prevalence of low back pain/degenerative joint disease, erectile dysfunction, sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux, depression and gout increased as BMI increased.

"Previous studies looking at the cost of obesity might be underestimating the toll," Allison said. "The men in this study were in a health program that exceeds the type of physical examination that a normal healthcare plan would offer."

Allison also said that companies should take notice of these costs and, perhaps, invest in programs to reduce obesity in the workplace. Co-authors are Iftikhar J. Kullo, M.D; Chul Kim, M.D.; and Donald D. Hensrud, M.D.
-end-
Statements and conclusions of study authors that are published in the American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The American Heart Association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability.

Abstract 3554

American Heart Association

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.