Overweight children are far more likely to take prescription drugs than their normal-weight peers, according to new research out of the University of Alberta.
The findings may explain one reason healthcare costs are rising and also suggest another benefit of weight-loss programs: lowered drug expenditures.
"Overweight and obese patients are more expensive to the healthcare system in terms of using medication and prescription drugs," said researcher Christina Fung. "In Canada, we have a public healthcare system, and this is an issue of accountability and where healthcare dollars are spent, and when."Wheat Belly: #1 Diet and Health Book in America Changing Lives - ONLY $4.95! Save $21!
The findings are based on an analysis of medication use among more than 2,000 Canadian children through the 2007 to 2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey. The researchers found overweight and obese kids, aged 12 to 19 years, were 59 percent more likely than their normal-weight peers to take prescription medication. The study also showed that overweight and obese adolescents were twice as likely to take medication for asthma and allergies.
Fung noted prescription drug expenditures have doubled over the past decade and now account for 17 percent of healthcare costs in Canada.
"By investing in prevention in kids — promotion of healthy eating and active living — there's an immediate payback in terms of healthcare costs," said co-researcher Paul Veugelers, noting an estimated 34 percent of kids aged 2 to 17 are now overweight or obese.
"Children who are not overweight are less likely to develop diabetes, or 30 to 40 years later get a heart attack or end up with cancer. Forty years from now you see a real return in terms of health-care costs."Wheat Belly: #1 Diet and Health Book in America Changing Lives - ONLY $4.95! Save $21!