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Health Conditions Cost Businesses Billions

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WASHINGTON, Sep 17, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Obesity and asthma cost U.S. businesses billions of dollars in health insurance costs, the Department of Health and Human Services said.

In 1994, obesity-related problems cost businesses an estimated $13 billion, diabetes another $14 million, while cardiovascular disease, asthma and tobacco are among the other conditions that have a significant impact on the bottom line.

However, several corporate programs encourage workers to better manage their diseases and adopt healthier behaviors.

"Smart business leaders increasingly are finding that it is the right decision to promote health education, physical activity and preventive benefits in the workplace," HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson said in a statement.

The study stressed the need to address "the root cause of chronic conditions" but acknowledged people face "significant barriers to change in their social and physical environments."

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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