Adolescent Weight Problems Costly
A recent study by the Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics and the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine found that annual healthcare costs are higher for obese children than normal weight children of the same age.
An estimated 30 percent of children are overweight or obese translating into 80 percent of those twelve year olds maintaining their weight problems as adults. According to Healthday News, “The researchers divided the children into three categories based on their body-mass index: obese (BMI in the 95th percentile or higher), overweight (BMI between the 85th and 94th percentile) and healthy weight (BMI lower than 85th percentile). The researchers measured the health-care costs for each child for one year after the initial visit.”
Eighteen percent of the children participating in the study were overweight, 22 percent obese. Of the obese children, only 43 percent were actually diagnosed with obesity, suggesting a clear under diagnosis.
It was found that overweight and obese children had a significantly higher bill for laboratory fees as apposed to their healthy weight peers. "We speculate that this increase reflects primary-care provider compliance with expert committee recommendations for laboratory evaluation of obese children and adolescents," the authors wrote.
The researchers estimate that obese children had an annual healthcare cost 172 dollars higher than that of their normal weight peers. Although the price may seem all too steep, what are not calculated are other health complications that will accompany these children into adulthood; taking years from their life, and dollars out of their pockets.
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