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Obesity in Diabetes Shortens Life, Ups Health Care Costs

Stratified analysis shows obesity is linked to large decreases in life expectancy in diabetes patients

MONDAY, Jan. 12, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Diabetes patients, particularly those who are obese, are at risk for many life years lost and high lifetime health care expenses, according to research published online Dec. 31 in Diabetes Care.

Man-Yee Mallory Leung, Ph.D., of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues analyzed data from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey for 1997 to 2000 to examine life years lost and lifetime health care expenditures associated with diabetes by age, race, sex, and body mass index (BMI).

The researchers found 17.9 remaining life years and lifetime health expenditures of $185,609 for 50-year-old, white women with diabetes who had a BMI >40 kg/m², compared with 22.2 remaining life years and lifetime health expenditures of $183,704 for 50-year-old, white women with diabetes who had normal weight. Lifetime health expenses were higher for whites versus blacks, and for women versus men.

"For a given age, race, and sex, overweight individuals with diabetes had, on average, lost the most life years, and the class II obese individuals had the largest increase in lifetime health care expenditures," the authors write.

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