Wednesday, April 4, 2012

New Report Shows Importance of Calculating Full Cost Savings of Obesity Prevention

Highlighting Obesity-Related Medical Expenses, Economists Recommend 25-Year Window for Scoring Legislative Proposals

Cost estimates for legislative proposals to address obesity use a time period that is too short to capture the potential economic value of preventing related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, according to a report released today by the Campaign to End Obesity. The report concludes that this limits policy-makers’ ability to consider which obesity-prevention policies are both effective and cost-effective.
According to the authors, cost estimates of federal legislative proposals, which generally cover a 10-year period, do not capture the costly complications of chronic diseases, including those associated with obesity. Because such complications often take more than 10 years to manifest, the authors suggest that a 25-year budget window would be more appropriate and effective when there is strong and reliable data to inform longer-term estimates.
Other research has shown that, while obesity-related medical costs may be as high as $147 billion annually, efforts to prevent obesity can improve health and provide a strong return on investment. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provided support for the report from the Campaign to End Obesity.

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