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Study shows obesity costs

Health care reform has become a hot topic with all eyes on Congress. But a recent study shows that part of the reform needs to start right here at home.

In fact, it must start in the kitchens and dining rooms of each and every American.

This study, “The Future Cost of Obesity: National and State Estimates of the Impact of Obesity on Direct Health Care Expenses,” was conducted by Emory University health care economist Ken Thorpe, Ph.D., executive director of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease. It projects that half of Ohioans will be obese by 2018.

Think this doesn’t affect you? Think again. This impacts all taxpayers because obesity and health problems related to the condition will surpass $16 billion for the entire state, or $1,800 per person.

This is a serious problem. In Ohio in 2008, nearly 34 percent of residents were obese, which compares to one-third of all Americans.

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, according to the report.

This report can be viewed at www.fightchronicdisease.org or at www.americashealthrankings.com.

So while Americans wait for the government to come up with a solution, it is time communities start on a small scale right here at home.

Health care reform may be needed. Any efforts will have to start in the boardrooms of doctors, insurance companies, drug manufacturers and others, but maybe more importantly, it will start in the living rooms of America.