America’s Obesity Epidemic costs $147 billion

America's Obesity Epidemic

According to this study,

  • Americans spend $147 billion per year on “medical” obesity treatments,
  • This spending on obesity treatments eats up 9.1% of America’s total health care spending,
  • Annual medical costs due to obesity have doubled in less than a decade,
  • Between 1998 and 2006, the prevalence of American obesity swelled by 37%.
  • The results also showed that an obese person has $1,429 per year more medical costs, or about 42 percent more costs, than someone of normal weight.
  • Costs for an obese Medicare recipient are even greater.

Much of the costs to Medicare are a result of the added prescription drug benefit. The results reveal that Medicare prescription drug payments for obese individuals are roughly $600 more per year than drug payments for normal weight beneficiaries.

The researchers also found that 8.5 percent of Medicare expenditures, 11.8 percent of Medicaid expenditures, and 12.9 percent of private payer expenditures are attributable to obesity.

According to lead author Dr. Eric Finkelstein, “the medical costs attributable to obesity are almost entirely a result of costs generated from treating the diseases that obesity promotes“.

Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease….

“Obesity will continue to impose a significant burden on the health care system as long as the prevalence of obesity remains high.”

This study was presented earlier today at the “Weight of the Nation” conference, a three-day meeting of public health experts, policy leaders, and researchers being held in Washington, D.C.

The CDC will discuss the study findings along with new recommendations designed to prevent and reduce the impact obesity has upon communities at the “Weight of the Nation” conference, a three-day meeting of public health experts, policy leaders, and researchers being held today in Washington, D.C.

But, let’s not wait for the CDC discussion….

How can America reduce the $147 billion spent each year “treating the diseases that obesity promotes”?

  • More bariatric surgeries?
  • Modify the current taxes/subsidies applied to food production/distribution?
  • Mandatory P.E. in all schools?
  • Community fitness initiatives?
  • Massive PR campaign designed to shame the lazy & praise the physically fit
  • Tax breaks for Pharma research into obesity treatments
  • Mandatory military bootcamps
  • Amphetamines added to the water supply (sorry, Coca-Cola supply is more appropriate)

Any other suggestions welcome.

Also, please send me links to any other health/fitness/obesity blogs or websites that you really, really like.


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  1. 1. Increase the price of petrol and invest in public trasnport. People are more likely to have to walk to take it (they are not fat in Switzerland they take public trasnport)
    2. Education at school. Make food and cooking fresh foods a pleasure from an early age. Nations seem to get fatter the more processed food is available – look at Starbucks and the size of their coffees and sugar laden, fat laden things to drink. Look at Italy or Spain and the coffee they have. Who is fatter?
    3. At some point we are going to have to look at the food ‘industry’ and how we are manipulated (I am in the UK, I think the US is worse). It seems that fat nations like us have an enormous amount of ready made food in our supermarkets. Thin nations cook using fresh produce. The more these nations have processed food available the fatter they get.

  2. I wish I knew–I’m still trying to figure it out for myself. :-/ I’ve been steady at a weight for a while now.

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