Costs Associated With Obesity

In addition to the impact of obesity on mortality and comorbid health, there are now a great deal of data demonstrating that obesity is responsible for increased medical costs, job absenteeism, and a reduced quality of life for both adults and adolescents (7,8). Obese individuals have more visits to primary care providers and are the recipients of more diagnostic and specialty services (9). In a study of more than 16,000 Medicare recipients, Daviglus et al. found that individuals who were either obese or severely obese in middle age generated $2020 and $6469 more per year in attributable health care charges than their lean counterparts when they entered the Medicare program at age 65 (10). Other studies have also documented an increase in health care costs associated with increasing weight in people covered by indemnity or preferred provider organization (PPO) health insurance plans, as well as those enrolled in health maintenance organizations (11-13). The net effect of health-related economic costs attributable to obesity, including paid sick leave, life insurance, and disability, amount to more than $4 billion (14). Obesity then results in not only health problems but also a substantial economic drain on the health care system and private business.

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