What is the economic cost of obesity?

According to State of Obesity,

The estimated economic cost of obesity range from $147 billion to nearly $210 billion per year.

“Obesity is one of the biggest drivers of preventable chronic diseases and healthcare costs in the United States.”

Economic cost of obesity and job absenteeism 

The total national loss in productivity because of obesity-related absenteeism was estimated at $8.65 billion per year, which is 9.3% of all absenteeism costs. Harvard Health

Obesity is associated with significant increases in absenteeism among American workers and costs the nation over $8 billion per year in lost productivity, according to a study recently published by Yale’s Rudd Center researchers. Yale University

How does obesity impact work?

Economic cost of obesity on employees.

Obese employees miss more days from work due to short-term absences, long-term disability, and premature death than non-obese employees. Harvard Health

Economic cost of obesity on employers

Employers pay higher life insurance premiums and pay out more for workers’ compensation for employees who are obese than for employees who are not.

Programs designed to lower economic cost of obesity

State of Obesity estimates that there is lower productivity while at work which  cost employers $506 per obese worker per year.

A recent study from University of Michigan which was presented at the Endocrine Society’s 99th annual meeting in Orlando, Florida showed that individuals with obesity who were enrolled in a structured weight loss program reported fewer hours missed from work after six months in the program,

“Our findings suggest that, through favorable effects on work attendance, participation in a weight management program may be mutually beneficial for workers and their employers.” said Jennifer Iyengar, M.D., the study’s lead author and an endocrinology fellow at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Driving down the economic cost of obesity

A 2008 study by Trust For America’s Health suggested that that an investment of $10 per person for community programs to increase physical activity, improve nutrition and prevent smoking and other tobacco use could save the country more than $16 billion annually within five years.

Economic cost of treating obesity

Treating obesity and obesity-related conditions costs billions of dollars a year.

The economic cost of obesity is expected to rise as obesity rates increase.

Previous research shows that obesity-related illnesses incur considerable costs.

Work related reduced productivity of employees resulting from these health consequences of obesity may pose an even greater cost to society because of higher production costs and a less competitive workforce. Yale

Economic cost of obesity on healthcare

Spending on obesity-related conditions accounted for an estimated 8.5 percent of Medicare spending, 11.8 percent of Medicaid spending, and 12.9 percent of private-payer spending. Harvard Health

Obese adults spend 42 percent more on direct healthcare costs than adults who are a healthy weight.

Obesity information

According to the CDC,

More than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults have obesity.

Prevention of obesity

According to the CDC,

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity, or a combination of both, along with 2 days of strength training per week.

What diseases are associated with obesity?

  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Arthritis
  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems
  • Some cancers (endometrial, breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder, and liver)
  • Depression

What do you think about the economic cost of obesity?


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