It Officially Costs More To Be Overweight Than A Smoker In America [View all]
Obesity is not only unhealthy, it's expensive – costing the U.S. $190 billion in health care costs, or 21 percent of U.S. health care expenditures, according to a Cornell University obesity study.
The study found that medical costs associated with obesity are nearly double previous estimates. The Cornell study reports that an obese person incurs medical costs that are $2,741 higher than if he or she was not obese.
Nationwide, that translates into $190.2 billion per year, or 20.6 percent of national health expenditures. Previous estimates had pegged the cost of obesity at $85.7 billion, or 9.1 percent of national health expenditures, according to the study.
"Obesity raises the costs of treating almost any medical condition. It adds up very quickly," John Cawley, study co-author and professor of policy analysis and management in the College of Human Ecology and professor of economics at Cornell, said in a statement. The study appeared in the January issue of the Journal of Health Economics.