21 Sep, 2023 GlobalData report highlights staggering economic costs for New York of $37.3 billion due to obesityPosted in Healthcare
Obesity and overweight are estimated to have caused a staggering $37.3 billion reduction in New York’s economy in 2022, equivalent to 1.8% of the state’s gross domestic product, according to a report released by GlobalData Plc, a leading data and analytics company.
GlobalData’s report, ‘Obesity’s Impact on New York’s Economy and Labor Force,’ analyzes the economic and workforce implications of obesity in the State of New York, as well as the impact on state tax revenue collections and costs. Obesity is a serious, progressive disease and is associated with a range of other diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and musculoskeletal disorders. In New York, nearly one-third of adults are classified as having obesity (29.1%), and another third have overweight (34.5%). This disease not only contributes to an increase in healthcare spending and premature death but also has a detrimental effect on labor force participation and productivity.
Estimates of the economic impact of obesity on New York include: 165,000 fewer adults in the workforce due to obesity-related unemployment and premature death, $3.2 billion higher costs to employers for health-related absenteeism and disability, and 9% lower earnings for women with obesity compared to women with a healthy weight.
Employers in New York paid an extra $3.0 billion in higher medical expenditures for health complications attributed to obesity and overweight. Households with private insurance incurred $1.8 billion in higher costs. Medicaid costs to the state were higher by $1.5 billion (equivalent to 5.6% of the state’s Medicaid spending). The federal government also spent an estimated $6.5 billion more on Medicare and Medicaid for New York residents.
Obesity and overweight have a detrimental impact on the state’s budget, estimated at $5.2 billion in 2022 which is equivalent to 4.4% of fiscal year revenues. State tax revenues were lower by $3.0 billion (2.5%) due to reduced economic activity, while state costs for Medicaid, public assistance, and state government health insurance increased by $2.2 billion.
The report also notes that achieving and maintaining weight loss of 5% to 25% among New York’s non-Medicare adult population with obesity could produce substantial medical savings, ranging from $32.5 billion to $70.0 billion over the next 10 years.
Obesity is driving the rising number of new cases of type 2 diabetes in the US every year,” said Robert Gabbay, MD, chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association®. “Obesity rates continue to increase in New York and across the country. Research shows that healthy weight management can significantly improve health for those at risk including the potential to prevent diabetes and even lead to diabetes remission. To help prevent diabetes, people with obesity need to be able to work with their health care providers to effectively treat and manage their chronic disease.”
Considering the analysis, GlobalData has recommended actionable steps for state policymakers and employers:
State policymakers can (1) advocate for state employee health insurance to cover comprehensive, evidence-based obesity treatments, including intensive behavioral counseling, nutrition support, pharmacotherapy, and bariatric surgery; (2) expand Medicaid coverage for obesity treatment; and (3) invest in community-based programs and education campaigns.
Employers can (1) offer insurance coverage and wellness programs for obesity care at parity with other chronic diseases; (2) foster a culture of support and inclusion that recognizes and accommodates the needs of employees with obesity; and (3) provide education and resources to employees to educate about the health risks associated with obesity as well as strategies for obesity care and weight management.
GlobalData’s report serves as a wakeup call to address the obesity crisis head-on, with the potential to alleviate the economic burden on New York and foster a healthier and more prosperous future for its residents and employers.
The study was supported by Eli Lilly and Company.