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How Much Does That “Value Meal” REALLY Cost?

  
  
  
  

 VALUE MEAL DEVALUES YOU

Next time you’re tempted to tack another enticing item (usually fried) onto your lunch tab at a fast food restaurant because it is “only” $1 more, contemplate the true costs of consistent supersizing by the American population.

I think the following abbreviated statistics illustrate the true cost of gradual, yet constant, caloric excess from adding just one more 5-pack of chicken “nuggets” over time:

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Costs of obesity and overweight

The economic impact of obesity and overweight population in terms of illness, diseases and lost productivity is significant. Overweight and obesity costs total $147 billion in the United States. Direct costs include the cost of physicians and other professionals, hospital and nursing home services, the cost of medications, home health care and other medical durables. Indirect costs include lost productivity that results from illness and death.

Over two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese (Body Mass Index > 25):

All adults: 68 %

Women: 64.1 %

Men: 72.3%

Over one-third of adults age 20 and older are obese (BMI >30):

All adults: 33.8%

Women: 35.5%

Men: 32.2%

Less than one-third of adults age 20 and older are at a healthy weight (BMI > 18.5 and < 25):

All adults: 31.6%

Women: 36.5%

Men: 26.6%

 Economic Costs of Obesity:  Based on 2008 data, average health care costs for obese people are 42% higher than normal weight people.

Cost of obesity by insurance status for each obese beneficiary:

Medicare pays $1,723 more than it pays for normal weight beneficiaries.

Medicaid pays $1,021 more than it pays for normal weight beneficiaries.

Private insurers pay $1,140 more than they pay for normal weight beneficiaries.

Cost of obesity by the type of service provided:

Medicare pays $95 more for an inpatient service, $693 more for a non-inpatient service, and $608 more for prescription drugs in comparison with normal weight patients.

Medicaid pays $213 more for an inpatient service, $175 more for a non-inpatient service, and $230 more for prescription drugs in comparison with normal weight patients.

Private insurers pay $443 more for an inpatient service, $398 more for a non-inpatient service, and $284 more for prescription drugs in comparison with normal weight patients.

Sources include: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, American Heart Association, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

BOTTOM LINE:  “Extra Value” meals are no bargain when they come in the form of excess empty calories.

Holly Aglialoro
Guest Blogger and Fitness Enthusiast

 

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