The health cost of obesity in the United States is as high as $147 billion annually, based on a new study from RTI and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study which appears online today in the journal Health Affairs, was released at CDC’s Weight of the Nation conference in Washington, DC.
The proportion of all annual medical costs that are due to obesity increased from 6.5 percent in 1998 to 9.1 percent in 2006, the study said. This total includes payment by Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers, and includes prescription drug spending. Overall, persons who are obese spent $1,429 (42 percent) more for medical care in 2006 than did normal weight people. These estimates were compiled using national data that compare medical expenses for normal weight and obese persons.