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Economic burden of obesity on health care systems

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Joanna Michałowska, Paweł Bogdański

3 (52) 2017 s. 337–342
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Fraza do cytowania: Michałowska J., Bogdański P. Economic burden of obesity on health care systems. Polski Przegląd Nauk o Zdrowiu. 2017;3(52):337–342.

Obesity is a chronic disease which is characterized by increase of body fat. It has serious consequences for morbidity, disability and quality of life, it is a risk factor for many diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, ischaemic heart disease and high blood pressure. Increasing prevalence of obesity has been observed for decades and according to World Health Organization data, it is now reaching epidemic proportions. Between 1980 and 2008 the worldwide prevalence of obesity nearly doubled. It is estimated that 23% of women and 20% of men in Europe are obese. The global economic impact of obesity is estimated to equal 2 trillion dollars, which accounts for 2.8% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The cost of this condition on health care systems alone is assessed to be between 2 and 7% of total health care spending. This number increases to 20% when cost of treating associated diseases is included. The high medical cost of obesity is generated by many variables, including excess use of ambulatory care, more frequent hospitalization and medical examination, higher usage of long term care and prescribed medications. Obesity is currently one of the top global social burdens generated by human beings and it’s prevalence is growing at an alarming rate. Implementing suitable programs and interventions are required to lower the morbidity and reduce costs generated to health-care systems.

Key words: obesity, economic burden, health care system.



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