HEALTH

Study: Obesity trumps smoking when it comes to impact on long-term healthcare costs

BY Michael Johnsen

PHILADELPHIA — Obesity adds more to healthcare costs than smoking does, according to a study published in the March Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Both obesity and smoking were associated with excess costs for health care. Compared with nonsmokers, average health costs were $1,275 higher for smokers. But the incremental costs associated with obesity were even higher: $1,850 more than for normal-weight individuals. For those with morbid obesity, the excess costs were up to $5,500 per year.

The additional costs associated with obesity appeared lower after adjustment for other accompanying health problems. "This may lead to underestimation of the true incremental costs, since obesity is a risk factor for developing chronic conditions," lead author James Moriarty said. "Simultaneous estimates of incremental costs of smoking and obesity show that these factors appear to act as independent multiplicative factors." The study provides new insights into the long-term costs of obesity and smoking, showing that both risk factors lead to persistently higher health costs throughout a 7-year follow-up period.

Moriarty and colleagues of the Mayo Clinic analyzed the incremental costs of smoking and obesity among more than 30,000 Mayo Clinic employees and retirees. All had continuous health insurance coverage between 2001 and 2007.


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HEALTH

Nutramax celebrates 20 years

BY Michael Johnsen

EDGEWOOD, Md. — Nutramax Labs, known for its glucosamine and chondroitin products, on Tuesday celebrated its 20th anniversary, the company announced.

Nutramax helped research, manufacture and market joint health supplement CosaminDS. The chondroitin sulfate found in CosaminDS was chosen by the National Institutes of Health for the Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial. GAIT found that for a subset of participants with moderate to severe pain, glucosamine combined with chondroitin sulfate provided statistically significant pain relief compared with placebo — about 79% had a 20% or greater reduction in pain versus about 54% for placebo, according to the NIH.

Building upon the success of Cosamin, Nutramax then developed Cosequin joint health supplements for dogs, cats and horses, the company said. More than 60 products for people and animals followed in the next 20 years.

“Quality is our way of life at Nutramax Labs,” stated Robert Henderson, chairman of Nutramax. “We carefully research and develop products that are safe and effective,” he said. “We are looking forward to many more years of growth and service to our customers and our community."


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Psi Bands generates ‘buzz’ at Travel Goods Association trade event

BY Michael Johnsen

PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. — Psi Bands, stylish drug-free wristbands for the relief of nausea, were voted the most buzz-worthy product of the year at the Travel Goods Association trade show held in Las Vegas, the company announced earlier this month. The "Buzz Award" is given once per year to the product that has created the most "buzz" at the Travel Goods Show’s New Products Pavilion as voted on by retailers and members of the press.

In addition to relieving motion sickness, Psi Bands provide nausea relief due to pregnancy (i.e., morning sickness), anesthesia and chemotherapy. Psi Bands are worn on both wrists at the Nei-kuan acupressure point.

Psi Bands come two to a set and sell for a suggested $14.99.

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