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Smoke, fat, and sugar: Burdening healthcare costs

October 31, 2012

Many people know that healthcare costs in the United States are rising year after year. But few people realize that a lot of the health problems that people are experiencing are attributable to their intake of three things: smoke, fat, and sugar.

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Cigarette smoke, second-hand or not, is very harmful. It contains more than 7,000 different chemicals like tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide; causes diseases like lung cancer and emphysema; and, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, costs the United States $96 billion a year in direct healthcare costs and $97 billion in lost productivity.

Image Credit: Sciencedaily.com

Saturated fat and sugar consumption are main contributors to the rising obesity rates in the United States. Obese people are predisposed to diseases like diabetes and heart disease due to imbalanced blood sugar and high triglyceride levels, respectively, in the blood. According to CNN, a government-sponsored study recently estimated that medical spending pegged to obesity reached $147 billion in 2008, almost having doubled in the past decade.

Image Credit: Cbc.ca

As public access to information in the United States is pretty good, it is virtually impossible to live there and not know the risks of obesity and smoking. Quitting smoking and eating less fat and sugar are necessary to reduce their impact on the burgeoning health costs in the United States.

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