Obesity Costs U.S. $73 Billion!
If you ever wondered how much obesity costs a nation such as the United States, well, if you want to put a price tag on it, a new study suggests that the bill is cool $73 billion.
Let’s take a step back and define what exactly obesity means… Obesity is defined, in clinical terms, as individuals who have a body mass index which is greater than 30. To calculate your body mass index, take your weight in kilograms and divide that by your height in meters (squared).
[box type="important"]If that sounds like too much math to bother, you can also get a quick result with an online body mass index calculator (follow link).[/box]
In contrast to obesity, being overweight is defined as a body mass index ranging from 25-30.
Losing weight can be difficult and it generally requires making positive lifestyle changes including your diet along with a regular exercise regime (for sustained weight loss). Several studies suggest that the weight loss effect of various tend to plateau after six months without combining these changes with exercise.
Back to the recent study, the $73 billion dollar cost associated with obesity in the United States stems primarily from excess medical cost along with lost workplace productivity. They also included data from the 2006 Medical Expenditures Panel Survey which included 8.875 participants.
Breakdown of these Costs from 2 National Surveys:
- $30.3 billion in direct medical costs
- $12.8 billion in workplace absenteeism
- $30.0 billion in “presenteeism” — at work but less productive because of health problems
From this survey based research by Finkelstein and his colleagues, the degree of obesity correlated further with these costs.
While the study found that men who were overweight (but not obese) were no more likely to have higher medical costs or miss more work than normal weight men, for overweight women, they were more likely than their normal weight counterparts to miss work and have higher medical related expenses.
Okay, the study for this National Health and Wellness Survey was internet-based, used a convenience sample instead of randomized sample though it did include over 24,000 participants.
- Finkelstein EA, Dibonaventura MD, Burgess SM, Hale BC. The Costs of Obesity in the Workplace. The Costs of Obesity in the Workplace. The Costs of Obesity in the Workplace. J Occup Environ Med. 2010 Sep 25