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Research Article

Lifetime Medical Costs of Obesity: Prevention No Cure for Increasing Health Expenditure

  • Pieter H. M van Baal mail,

    To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: pieter.van.baal@rivm.nl

    Affiliation: National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Centre for Prevention and Health Services Research, Bilthoven, The Netherlands

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  • Johan J Polder,

    Affiliations: National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Centre for Public Health Forecasting, Bilthoven, The Netherlands, Tilburg University, Department Tranzo, Tilburg, The Netherlands

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  • G. Ardine de Wit,

    Affiliation: National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Centre for Prevention and Health Services Research, Bilthoven, The Netherlands

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  • Rudolf T Hoogenveen,

    Affiliation: National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Centre for Prevention and Health Services Research, Bilthoven, The Netherlands

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  • Talitha L Feenstra,

    Affiliation: National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Centre for Prevention and Health Services Research, Bilthoven, The Netherlands

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  • Hendriek C Boshuizen,

    Affiliation: National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Centre for Prevention and Health Services Research, Bilthoven, The Netherlands

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  • Peter M Engelfriet,

    Affiliation: National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Centre for Prevention and Health Services Research, Bilthoven, The Netherlands

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  • Werner B. F Brouwer

    Affiliation: Erasmus University, Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

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  • Published: February 05, 2008
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050029

Reader Comments (8)

Post a new comment on this article

Cost to Health Care System Needs to Look At Revenue Side Too

Posted by plosmedicine on 31 Mar 2009 at 00:19 GMT

Author: Zagros Madjd-Sadjadi
Position: Assistant Professor of Economics
Institution: Winston-Salem State University
E-mail: sadjadizm@wssu.edu
Submitted Date: February 05, 2008
Published Date: February 7, 2008
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

Although outside the original scope of the investigation, there is an additional issue with regard to the cost to the health care system that cannot be ignored. Anything that causes life expectancy to fall below the average retirement age or that causes productive worklife years to fall provides an enormous cost to public healthcare provision that is supported by tax dollars since fewer tax dollars will be available to provide such care. I would suggest that a future update of the model incorporate these costs explicitly and would not be surprised if the results reversed themselves (or at least that the differences were reduced) in such a context.

No competing interests declared.