The Cost of Obesity

by admin on July 28, 2009

This story has been all over the news for the past 3 days. Its not really a big shock if you think about it. Of course the costs of Health Insurance will be higher as the obesity rates skyrocket.


The medical costs of obesity are estimated to be $147 billion a year, economists at RTI International announced today.

The findings update 1998 estimates, which put a $78.5 billion tab on hospitalizations, doctor visits and pills to treat the complications of obesity. Since then, obesity rates have risen 37 percent.

“The connection between rising rates of obesity and rising medical spending is undeniable,” the study’s authors state in the report. “The take-home message is that without a strong and sustained reduction in obesity prevalence, obesity will continue to impose major costs on the health system for the foreseeable future.”

The report, issued two days before President Barack Obama visits the Triangle to press his message for health care reform, suggests that “policy and environmental changes” are necessary to help people eat healthier and get more exercise.

Health advocates have long pressed for more nutritious food in schools, better neighborhood development plans that include sidewalks and trails, and financial incentives from insurers to promote gym memberships and exercise.

When people become excessively heavy, they can develop diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, bone and joint problems, and increased cancer risks.

According to the study, people who are obese spent $1,429 more on medical care than normal weight people. As a result, public and private insurers pay more.

“In aggregate, the annual medical burden of obesity has increased from 6.5 percent to 9.1 percent of annual medical spending,” the report’s authors said.


This is a major problem for everyone. Since the cost is so expensive to treat obesity, it is raising the premiums for everyone else to cover the cost. Which is driving our Health Insurance premiums up. Its not fair for everyone else who is not using this high cost treatment to have to suffer but at the same time its not fair for others rates to increase because of it. Its a lose lose situation.


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