A study has found that obesity-related diseases account for 9.1% of health spending in the USA, equivalent to around US$147 billion. Researchers also found that obese people spend 40% more in healthcare costs, equal to around US$1,429 more per year, than people of a normal weight.
RTI international, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality analysed medical cost data for the years between 1998 and 2006. The findings showed that rates of obesity rose by 37% between 1998 and 2006, driving an 89% increase in spending for obesity-related disease treatments such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. It also found that an obese Medicare patient spends US$600 more each year in drug costs than a Medicare patient of a healthy weight.
The CDC issued 24 recommendations in July 2009, on how communities can tackle the problem of obesity, mostly by encouraging healthy eating and exercise.
Obesity accounts for 9.1% of health spending, up from 6.5% in 1998. In total, more than 26% of Americans are obese.
Further reading - An in-depth analysis of the US pharmaceutical market, including some background information on health expenditure, is available from Espicom: The Pharmaceutical Market: USA (published June 2009)