News: Modifiable health risks add $730 billion to U.S. healthcare spending

CDI Strategies - Volume 14, Issue 46

A study published in The Lancet Public Health found that modifiable health risks have been associated with more than $730 billion in United States healthcare spending, HealthLeaders Media reported.

The study, conducted by researchers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington School of Medicine and wellness advisors Vitality Group, looked at the $2.7 trillion spent on healthcare in 2016, and determined that 27% of the spending was attributable to five modifiable risk factors, including:

  • Overweight and obesity, $238.5 billion
  • High blood pressure, $179.9 billion
  • High fasting plasma glucose, $171.9 billion
  • Dietary risks, $143.6 billion
  • Tobacco smoke, $130.0 billion

Modifiable, treatable risks were also strongly linked to costly medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases, HealthLeaders Media reported. That spending increased significantly with the patient’s age, with the greatest portion (44.8%) of spending associated with people aged 65 years and older.

Looking at risks helps law makers and healthcare leaders better understand where these costs start, since unmanaged risk factors often lead to more serious health conditions later in life, IHME study authors said.

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in HealthLeaders Media. The IHME study can be found here. To read more about healthcare spending in general, click here.

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