Monday, September 27, 2010

Cost of Obesity Weighs Down on North Americans

Researchers at George Washington University recently published data on the individual costs of being overweight and obese in the United States. It is the first-ever report on the individual cost of having excess weight.

According to the study, the annual cost of being obese in the U.S. is $4,879 for women and $2,646 for men. The researchers analyzed prior research to determine the "real-life costs" of obesity. They examined loss of productivity at work, employee sick days and the need for additional gasoline, among other factors.

Taking into account the economic value of lost life pushed the annual cost of obesity to $8,365 for women and $6,518 for men.

The study notes that obesity increases a person’s risk for sleep apnea. Losing weight has been shown to improve sleep apnea, but the AASM recommends that weight loss be combined with CPAP or oral appliance therapy. Treatment should be directed by a sleep physician.

Obesity also raises the prevalence of type II diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, asthma, certain types of cancer, and other conditions.

A new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that Americans have the highest rate of obesity in the world.

The report notes that the lifespan of an obese person is up to 8 to 10 years shorter than that of a normal-weight person.

Unfortunately, obesity is a problem that is being adopting by children. This Montreal Gazette article reported on a new Canadian study that found most pediatricians believe parents are not taking their child’s weight seriously.

The study included 860 pediatricians. When asked to identify key barriers to child weight loss, more than 60 percent of the surveyed doctors noted:

- Parents who are overweight themselves
- Parents who become defensive when the topic of their child’s weight is raised
- Parents who show little interest in helping their child lose weight

Not sure if you have a weight problem. Check your body mass index here.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.