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Obesity Rates Will Continue to Increase, Drive Health Care Costs in New Jersey in Next Decade, According to New Study
Date:11/17/2009

Obesity-Attributable Health Spending to Reach $1,318 per Person by 2018

RIVERTON, N.J., Nov. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new report released today based on research by Emory University Health Care Economist Ken Thorpe, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD), shows increasing obesity rates in New Jersey and across the country will result in higher health care spending for states and individuals. The study, which was commissioned by UnitedHealth Foundation, Partnership for Prevention, and American Public Health Association in conjunction with their annual Americas Health Rankings report, is the first to estimate obesity prevalence and costs at the state and national level 10 years from now.

The study, "The Future Cost of Obesity: National and State Estimates of the Impact of Obesity on Direct Health Care Expenses," shows that obesity rates will reach 38.7 percent in New Jersey and associated health care costs will surpass $9 billion for the entire state and $1,318 per person.

"This study demonstrates that as policymakers seek to make health care more affordable, addressing the obesity epidemic is vital," said Thorpe. "It threatens to 'break the bank' of our health care system, and family budgets, if we don't take action."

In New Jersey in 2008, 28.1 percent were obese, which compares to one-third of all Americans who are obese. According to the new study, if obesity rates in the Garden State remained at 2008 levels, residents in the state could expect to save $765 per person in health spending over the next 10 years.

"Once again we are reminded of the cost of doing nothing to fight this growing epidemic," said Donald Sico, Executive Director of the New Jersey Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease. "But once again we should all understand that we have the power to change course and save billions in spending and millions of lives."

At the national level, obesity accounts for nearly 10 percent of what the U.S. spends annually on health care. One-third of the increase in domestic health spending since the mid-1980s is linked to the doubling of obesity.

Dr. Thorpe's report can be accessed at www.fightchronicdisease.org or at www.americashealthrankings.com.

About the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease:

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is a national and state-based coalition of patients, providers, community organizations, business and labor groups, and health policy experts committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability, and rising health care costs in the U.S.: chronic disease. The New Jersey Partnership, which includes more than 140 partners, is co-chaired by former Governor James J. Florio and David L. Knowlton, President and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute. For more information about the PFCD and its partner organizations, please visit: www.fightchronicdisease.org.

    Contact:  Donald Sico
              609-351-3591

SOURCE The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease New Jersey


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SOURCE The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease New Jersey
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