NutriStrategy Summary of Economic Costs of Obesity and Overweight
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Costs of obesity and overweight

Adult obesity rates rose in 28 states, according to a 2013 study. More than two-thirds of states (38) have adult obesity rates above 25%. The most obese states, with rates above 30%, are Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arkansas. In 1991, no state had an obesity rate above 20 percent.

The economic impact of obesity and overweight population in terms of illness, diseases and lost productivity is significant. Overweight and obesity costs total $147 billion in the United States. Direct costs include the cost of physicians and other professionals, hospital and nursing home services, the cost of medications, home health care and other medical durables. Indirect costs include lost productivity that results from illness and death.

Over two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese (Body Mass Index > 25):

All adults: 68 % Women: 64.1 % Men: 72.3%

Over one-third of adults age 20 and older are obese (BMI >30):

All adults: 33.8% Women: 35.5% Men: 32.2%

Less than one-third of adults age 20 and older are at a healthy weight (BMI > 18.5 and < 25):

All adults: 31.6% Women: 36.5% Men: 26.6%

Economic Costs of Obesity: As rates of overweight and obesity increase, there is a corresponding increase in health care costs. Based on 2008 data, average health care costs for obese people are 42% higher than normal weight people.

Cost of obesity by insurance status for each obese beneficiary:

Medicare pays $1,723 more than it pays for normal weight beneficiaries.
Medicaid pays $1,021 more than it pays for normal weight beneficiaries.
Private insurers pay $1,140 more than they pay for normal weight beneficiaries.

Cost of obesity by the type of service provided:

Medicare pays $95 more for an inpatient service, $693 more for a non-inpatient service, and $608 more for prescription drugs in comparison with normal weight patients.
Medicaid pays $213 more for an inpatient service, $175 more for a non-inpatient service, and $230 more for prescription drugs in comparison with normal weight patients.
Private insurers pay $443 more for an inpatient service, $398 more for a non-inpatient service, and $284 more for prescription drugs in comparison with normal weight patients.

Sources include: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, American Heart Association, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

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