Kids With Hypertension Have $1000 A Year in Added Healthcare Costs, AJMC Study Finds

While the problem of childhood obesity has received attention, the connections among childhood obesity and hypertension, and their associated costs, have received less scrutiny. A new study in The American Journal of Managed Care estimates healthcare costs related to high blood pressure and body mass index in children and teens.

Kids With Hypertension Have $1,000 A Year in Added Healthcare Costs, AJMC Study Finds

PLAINSBORO, N.J. — Childhood obesity and hypertension aren’t just problems because they indicate higher healthcare costs down the road. A new study in The American Journal of Managed Care indicates that hypertension, especially, substantially drives up healthcare costs for children who suffer from it.

This is the first study estimating the impact of blood pressure and body mass index, or BMI status, on healthcare utilization and cost in children and teens.

Led by Todd P. Gilmer, PhD, the authors used electronic health records and data from 71,617 children enrolled in health plans in Colorado and Minnesota between 2007 and 2011 to estimate inpatient, outpatient and pharmacy costs, as well as the cost of diagnostic and evaluation tests for children and teens aged 3-17.

The study found that annual healthcare costs for those with normal blood pressure were $736, and $945 for those with prehypertension, compared with $1972 for those with hypertension, when controlling for BMI. Of note, while higher BMI status was associated with higher healthcare costs, blood pressure status was the better indicator.

The authors note that this continues into adulthood. “Elevated blood pressure in adults has been shown to be associated with substantial increased costs in three national data sets,” they write. “Studies of adults have further shown that both obesity and hypertension are independent determinants of costs.”

About the Journal

The American Journal of Managed Care, now in its 20th year of publication, is the leading peer-reviewed journal dedicated to issues in managed care. Other titles in the AJMC family of publications are The American Journal of Pharmacy Benefits, which provides pharmacy and formulary decision makers with information to improve the efficiency and health outcomes in managing pharmaceutical care. In December 2013, AJMC introduced The American Journal of Accountable Care, which publishes research and commentary devoted to understanding changes to the healthcare system due to the 2010 Affordable Care Act. AJMC’s news publications, the Evidence-Based series, bring together stakeholder views from payers, providers, policymakers and pharmaceutical leaders in the areas of oncology, diabetes management, and immunology and infectious disease. To order reprints of articles appearing in AJMC publications, please call (609) 716-7777, x 131.

CONTACT: Mary Caffrey (609) 716-7777 x 144

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