ECONOMIC COST

RELATED TO OVERWEIGHT AND OBESITY

 
  home   As the prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased in the United States, so have related health care costsóboth direct and indirect. Direct health care costs refer to preventive, diagnostic, and treatment services such as physician visits, medications, and hospital and nursing home care. Indirect costs are the value of wages lost by people unable to work because of illness or disability, as well as the value of future earnings lost by premature death.

Most of the statistics presented here represent the economic cost of overweight and obesity in the United States in 1995, updated to 2001 dollars.[10] Unless otherwise noted, these statistics are adapted from Wolf and Colditz,[11] who based their data on existing epidemiological studies that defined overweight and obesity as a BMI > 29. Because the prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased since 1995, the costs today are higher than the figures given here.

Q: What is the cost of overweight and obesity?

A: Total Cost: $117 billion
     
Direct Cost: $61 billion*
     
Indirect Cost: $56 billion

*A recent study estimated annual medical spending due to overweight and obesity (BMI >25) to be as much as $92.6 billion in 2002 dollarsó9.1 percent of U.S. health expenditures.[12]

Q: What is the cost of lost productivity related to overweight and obesity?

A: The cost of lost productivity related to obesity among Americans age 17 to 64 is $3.9 billion. This value considers the following annual numbers (for 1994):

Workdays lost: $39.3 million
Physician office visits: $62.7 million
Restricted-activity days: $239 million
Bed-days: $89.5 million

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Originally published by the NIDDK

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