Obesity Statistics

Statistics on the Economic Impact of Obesity

As the prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased in the United States, so have the related healthcare costs, both direct and indirect. Direct healthcare costs refer to preventive, diagnostic, and treatment services (for example, physician visits, medications, and hospital and nursing home care). Indirect costs are the value of wages lost by people unable to work because of illness or disability, as well as the value of future earnings lost by premature death.
 
Most of the statistics presented below represent the economic cost of overweight and obesity in the United States in 1995, updated to 2001 dollars. Unless otherwise noted, the statistics given are adapted from Wolf and Colditz, who based their data on existing epidemiological studies that defined overweight and obesity as a BMI greater than or equal to 29. Because the prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased since 1995, the costs today are higher than the figures given here.
 
  • Total cost of obesity: $117 billion
 
    • Direct cost: $61 billion
    • Indirect cost: $56 billion (comparable to the economic costs of cigarette smoking).
 
  • Direct cost of heart disease related to overweight and obesity: $8.8 billion (17 percent of the total direct cost of heart disease, independent of strokes).
     
  • Total cost of type 2 diabetes related to overweight and obesity: $98 billion.
     
  • Total cost of osteoarthritis related to overweight and obesity: $21.2 billion
 
    • Direct cost: $5.3 billion
    • Indirect cost: $15.9 billion.
 
  • Direct cost of hypertension (high blood pressure) related to overweight and obesity: $4.1 billion (17 percent of the total cost of hypertension).
     
  • Total cost of gallbladder disease related to overweight and obesity: $3.4 billion.
     
  • Total cost of cancer related to overweight and obesity:
 
 
  • Total cost of lost productivity related to obesity: $3.9 billion. This value considers the following annual numbers (for 1994):
 
    • Workdays lost related to obesity: $39.3 million
    • Physician office visits related to obesity: $62.7 million
    • Restricted activity days related to obesity: $239.0 million
    • Bed-days related to obesity: $89.5 million.
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Obesity Epidemic

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