More that 72 million adults are categorized as obese and the total health care cost related to obesity is about $147 billion. Some two-thirds of Americans are obese or overweight, and the rate of childhood obesity has tripled in the last 30 years.
Experts have long known the toll of being overweight takes on your health, but it also takes a huge toll on your wallet.
In an analysis conducted by researchers at George Washington University called “A Heavy Burden: The Individual Costs of Being Overweight and Obese in the United States,” researchers found that the annual cost of being overweight is $524 for a woman and $432 for a man, while the extra pounds that qualify a person as obese ups those costs to $4,879 for a woman and $2,646 for a man. Add in a shortened life span and the annual costs grow to $8,365 and $6,518, for women and men, respectively.
Approximately 10 percent of medical costs in America are due to obesity and at the rate the American population is increasing their weight, they estimate that figure will rise to between 16 and 18 percent of total health care costs.
In a quote in Medical News Today, Joe Nadglowski, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Obesity Action Coalition, said, “The data demonstrates that an individual affected by obesity faces not only high medical-related costs, but also higher non-medical costs, including lost wages due to disability and premature mortality. Given the increasing obesity rates, this report underscores the critical need for a new and more aggressive approach to obesity …”
In an effort to help change the obesity epidemic, the CDC is also taking several steps it hopes will make people more aware of the problem and get Americans to make the changes needed to reduce obesity.
Among the strategies the CDC is promoting are making healthy food more available, promoting more choices of healthy foods, promoting breast-feeding, encouraging physical activity and creating sites in communities that support physical activity, Dr. William H. Dietz, director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, said during the press conference.
“These recommendations, I believe, set the foundation for the community interventions necessary to reverse this problem in the United States,” Dietz said.
One of the biggest problems facing Americans is soaring consumption of soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks, which add almost 150 calories to the daily diet, Frieden said.
Frieden believes that taxing sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks will help cut down on consumption and raise revenues that can be used to fight the obesity epidemic.