Obesity Can Significant Reduce Life Expectancy

Diabetes patients that are obese face risks for lowered life expectancy and high health care expenses. These findings have been published as part of a new study in the journal Diabetes Care.


Man-Yee Mallory Leung, PhD, of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, lead the study which looked at data from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey for 1997 to 2000. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the lowered life expectancy and lifetime health care costs of patients that have diabetes. These findings were then associated with the patient’s age, race, sex and BMI in order to determine if there were any significant correlations.


The researchers discovered that white women of 50 years of age with a BMI over 40 had close to 18 life years remaining with lifetime health care expenditures of roughly $185,000. The lifetime health expenses for a white women of age 50 with a normal weight was $183,000, only slightly less.


The study also showed that lifetime health expenses were higher for white versus black Americans. The lifetime health expenses for women were also higher than those for men.


In summarizing the data, the researchers noted that overweight individuals, for a given age, race and sex, saw the highest reduced life expectancy. For class II obese individuals, there was the largest increase in lifetime health care expenditures.


Diabetes healthcare costs are increasingly making up a large portion of the costs associated with healthcare. Findings that make correlations between certain types of individuals and healthcare costs can assist with changing diabetes management for patients that can help patients come healthier and less prone to hospitalization.

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