Obesity, Cigarette Smoking and the Cost of Physicians’ Services in Ontario
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BACKGROUND: This report uses population-based individual-level data to compute direct estimates of the costs of physicians' services in Ontario in relation to Body Mass Index (BMI) and smoking. METHODS: Subjects were 2,170 respondents to the National Population Health Survey who approved linkage to the Ontario Health Insurance Plan. RESULTS: The mean per capita cost of physicians' services in Ontario increased by $8.90 (95% CI: $1.90-$15.60) for each unit increase in BMI and by $1.75 (95% CI: $0.11-$3.40) for every year of daily smoking. The annual attributable cost of smoking and overweight among residents of Ontario, aged 40-79, was estimated at $275,000,000. CONCLUSIONS: Overweight and smoking are responsible for large costs to the health care system. The cost of public health initiatives could be easily recovered if they were successful in making only moderate changes to the levels of smoking and body weight in the population.
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