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Obesity impacting US health system

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Overweight and obesity and their associated health problems have a significant economic impact on the US health care system. A new study finds that severely overweight employees have a disproportionate impact on corporate health care. In North Carolina alone the Centers for Disease Control estimates healthcare costs at over $2 billion and continuing to expand... More than 155 million Americans receive their health care through an employee-sponsored plan. Acording to a survey from the national business group on health, two out of three respondents found their health plan excellent. And nearly 75 percent saw it as their most important benefit. But with the private sector picking up more than half of the money spent on medical care, businesses are looking for ways to reduce costs. One area of concern is overweight and obese employees. Thirty-two percent of adults are overweight and 34 percent obese according to the Centers for Disease Control. Overweight workers are more likely to suffer from diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes. These illnesses cost employees and employers more. A recent analysis by Thomson Healthcare found that severely obese employees can cost on average $5,695 a year in medical and prescription drug expenses. That's 75 percent more compared to an employee of normal weight, but charging obese employees more for health care is not a popular option. The National Business Group found that 51 percent of employees oppose employers' doing just that.

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