Obesity costs US health system $147 billion: study

Mon Jul 27, 2009 2:34pm EDT
 
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Obesity-related diseases account for nearly 10 percent of all medical spending in the United States or an estimated $147 billion a year, U.S. researchers said Monday.

They said obese people spend 40 percent more -- or $1,429 more per year -- in healthcare costs than people of normal weight.

"It is critical that we take effective steps to contain and reduce the enormous burden of obesity on our nation," Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a news conference at a CDC obesity meeting where the study was presented.

"Reversing obesity is not going to be done successfully with individual effort," Frieden said. "It will be done successfully as a society."

The CDC outlined 24 new recommendations on how communities can combat obesity in their neighborhoods and schools by encouraging healthier eating and more exercise.

Democratic Senator Tom Harkin, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee and chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Foresty, said the report underscores why prevention and wellness efforts must be part of any plan to reform the U.S. health system.

"Report after report shows that if we fail to take meaningful steps now on prevention of chronic disease like obesity, healthcare costs will continue to spiral out of control," Harkin said in a statement.

26 PERCENT OBESITY RATE IN U.S.   Continued...

 
<p>A woman walks along the boardwalk while leaving the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York September 4, 2007. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>