New research finds that obesity costs the U.S. $168 billion, and that 17 percent of medical costs can be attributed to obesity. The researchers think that past calculations underestimated the economic impact of the nation’s weight problem. “I think these are the most recent and perhaps statistically sound estimates that have come out to date,” said Kenneth Thorpe, a health policy researcher at Emory University. An earlier study put the figure at $2800.
The analysis was conducted by John Cawley of Cornell University and Chad Meyerhoefer of Lehigh University. They used a database that came from a survey of U.S. citizens and their doctors and other medical-care providers. Cawley and Meyerhoefer tried to establish a clearer causal relationship between obesity and health care costs. “It’s hard to find conditions that aren’t worsened or made more expensive by obesity,” said Cawley. They believe this is part of how they attained a much higher number than past reports.
It has been suggested that this research indicates a need to invest more resources in obesity-fighting initiatives.
Via USA Today.
October 20th, 2010