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Obesity Claims For Youth Are Rising Dramatically

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter

Youth insurance claims for obesity increased 154 percent between 2011 and 2014, according to a recent study from FAIR Health.

For the past twenty years, a wave of obesity has swept across the U.S. In point of fact, the prevalence of obesity in adults 18 and older was under 18 percent in all but two states as recently as 1994. Twenty years later, in 2014, no state had less than 18 percent prevalence. Across all age groups, the percent of insurance claims with an obesity diagnosis increased from 2011 to 2015. The greatest increase — 154 percent — occurred in those aged between 19 and 22 years.

As obesity rates have increased among the youth of America, so to has the rate of type 2 diabetes. The percent of insurance claims with a type 2 diabetes diagnoses more than doubled for those between 0 and 22 years of age, increasing by 109 percent. While females were diagnosed with obesity more frequently than males, men were more frequently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, FAIR Health reports.

Once considered a disease that solely plagued adults, type 2 diabetes is now increasingly prevalent in youth. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes in children ages 10 to 19 rose 35 percent from 2001 to 2009, as obesity affected more and more young Americans.

The burdens on society of an increased prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes are real, and not inconsequential. For example, a person with type 2 diabetes has an increased chance of developing cardiovascular disease, end-stage renal disease, eye damage and limb amputation.

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