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Effects of Obesity and Physical Activity on Health Care Utilization and Costs

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  • Jan Häußler

    () (Department of Economics, University of Konstanz, Germany)

Abstract

The study analyses the combined influence of obesity and lifestyle behaviors on health care utilization and health care costs. Therefore I analyze the interaction of obesity, nutrition and physical activity based on a community level dataset from a German city. In addition to the expected convex effects of age and chronic diseases for utilization, the results indicate that BMI and physical inactivity have an independent influence on G.P. visits as well as for hospitalization. The key finding of the cost analysis is that health care costs increase in consequence of a completely sedentary lifestyle by 505 € independent of the individual’s BMI level. The results also confirm that compared to individuals of normal weight, the medical costs of the group of overweight people (by 377 €) and the group of obese people (by 565 €) are significantly increased. Even without significant weight reductions public programs against a sedentary lifestyle can be a way to reduce health care spending, and thus a sole focus on weight reduction might underestimate the additional benefits of changes in lifestyle behaviors.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Häußler, 2014. "Effects of Obesity and Physical Activity on Health Care Utilization and Costs," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2014-07, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
  • Handle: RePEc:knz:dpteco:1407
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    File URL: http://www.uni-konstanz.de/FuF/wiwi/workingpaperseries/WP_07_Haussler_2014.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Andrew M. Jones, 2012. "health econometrics," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Palgrave Macmillan.
    2. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Cawley, John, 2008. "Beyond BMI: The value of more accurate measures of fatness and obesity in social science research," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 519-529, March.
    3. Cawley, John & Meyerhoefer, Chad, 2012. "The medical care costs of obesity: An instrumental variables approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 219-230.
    4. Fredrik Carlsen & Jostein Grytten, 1998. "More physicians: improved availability or induced demand?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(6), pages 495-508.
    5. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-255, March-Apr.
    6. Winfried Pohlmeier & Volker Ulrich, 1995. "An Econometric Model of the Two-Part Decisionmaking Process in the Demand for Health Care," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 339-361.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health Care Costs; Costs of obesity; Physical Activity;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health

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