Friday, September 24, 2010

Being Obese is Expensive: The Numbers

America’s struggle with obesity is costing the nation and individuals considerable money.

Nationally, about 10% of all medical expenses, or $147 billion, are produced by people who are overweight. That rate could climb to 18% by 2030, according to a new report from the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services’ Department of Health Policy.

Individually, the annual added cost of being obese is estimated to be $4,879 for women and $2,646 for men. When the “value of lost life due to premature mortality” is factored in, the totals go up to $8,365 for women and $6,518 for men. These figures include such factors as medical costs, sick leave, short-term disability and increased cost of life insurance. It is also estimated that obese men pay an extra $23 a year for gasoline and obese women $21.

The report notes that these estimates may be low because they do not take into account “consumer-related costs, such as clothing, air travel, automobile size or furniture.”

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