Obesity Financial Toll on American Lives Found in First Study

2010-09-22 07:44

In a first ever study, researchers have estimated the individual cost of obesity in the United States. The financial burden of obesity to Americans was estimated using direct and indirect measures that include direct and indirect costs to obese individuals.

The findings come from Avi Dor, Professor and Director of Health Economics Program at The George Washington University and colleagues who found significant differences in obesity related cost between men and women.

For women, the individual annual price tag associated with obesity - defined as BMI greater than 30 - was estimated at $4879 - for men, the annual price tag was calculated at $2646. When the researchers included lost life, the price tag jumped to $8,365 for women and $6,518 for men. The cost to women is significantly higher from disability, lost wages and absenteeism, compared to men.

Obesity Accounts for 10% of Annual Health Costs in US

Current estimates show health cost linked to obesity accounts for almost 10 percent of expenditure in America, but the researchers say their findings show the burden may be even more substantial

Dr. Dor explains, "Existing literature provides information on health- and work-related costs, but with the exception of fuel costs, no published academic research offers insight into consumer-related costs, such as clothing, air travel, automobile size or furniture. Anecdotal evidence suggests these costs could be significant."


Christine Ferguson, J.D., Professor of Health Policy says, “Being able to quantify the individual’s economic burden of excess weight may give new urgency to public policy discussions regarding solutions for the obesity epidemic.”


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I'm surprised the research did not include food. Obese people spend more on food, because we eat more. I know, I am one. When I am eating healthy portions, my food bill goes down dramatically.