Staggering Cost of Obesity

Staggering Cost of Obesity

The Cost Associated with Being Obese

According to a new study from Cornell University, obesity now accounts for over 20% of health care spending in the U.S. Previous research had calculated this figure to be just 9% more than half of what Cornell researchers calculated. They calculated the cost by treating the heritable component of weight as a natural experiment.

Previously, the cost had been determined using a simple calculation of the difference between the medical expenses of heavier and lighter people. The researchers explain that this figure is misleading. Because obese and non-obese people are very different.

For instance, if someone suffers a back injury at work it may lead to weight gain. The back injury could result in more medical costs. Even that is not caused by the weight gain, but rather, by the initial injury.

However, using the new method of calculation, the researchers found that an obese person’s medical costs are $2,741 higher annually than that of a non-obese person. This cost translates to almost 200 billion each year. Which is approximately 21% of the total medical expenditures in the U.S.obesity is a risk factor for several health concerns, including stroke, heart attack, diabetes, and even certain types of cancer.

Additionally, obesity increases the costs of treating almost any medical condition. And the costs pile up quickly. A growing body of research is showing that for many obese people, bariatric surgery, such as the lap-band or gastric bypass may be the best treatment. You can learn more about the comprehensive program and surgery options offered at the Colorado Bariatric Surgery Institute.

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