Beyond the individual health risks and quality of life associated with obesity, there is a huge societal and economic burden through the direct and indirect costs it generates.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics the total annual cost of obesity in 2008 including health system costs, loss of productivity and carers’ costs was estimated at around $58 billion.
It gets worse. The cost to Australia’s collective well being is $120 billion as estimated by the Herald/Age Lateral Economics Index.
A recent evidence-based report from Obesity Australia in partnership with PwC looked at more immediate costs borne by various key stakeholders including state and federal governments, the individual, employers and health insurers (reduced wellbeing and forgone earnings were not included) and found the total cost of obesity in Australia from 2011 to 2012 was $8.6 billion.
Experts agree tackling the disease of obesity requires a much broader engagement across all levels of society.
“Easing the individual and societal burden of obesity requires a multidisciplinary approach — behavioural, pharmacological, surgical and above all environmental changes are needed,” Professor Stephen Simpson, academic director at The Charles Perkins Centre told The Huffington Post Australia.
If you are overweight or obese, you are twice as likely to have depression. You are at higher risk of comorbidities associated with obesity and as a result, visit both the hospital and GP more than a non-obese person.
The PwC report showed while the situation of obesity in Australia is dire, long-term and cost effective intervention will save us money.
Direct costs including general practitioner, allied health, hospital care, pharmaceuticals and weight loss intervention made up $3.8 billion while the indirect costs including absenteeism, productivity and government subsidies made up $4.8 billion. To read more click here.
The 3rd Annual Australian and New Zealand Eating Disorders and Obesity Conference; Issues of the current day will be held at Mantra on View, Gold Coast from the 16 – 17 May 2016.
To register for the conference CLICK HERE. Early bird registrations close on Monday 4th April.