The cost of obesity in America ballooning
Washington, D.C, United States (AHN) – America’s growing obesity epidemic has ballooned, impacting the population in areas well beyond obesity-related disease such as heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.
Its growing impact is now costing some $190 billion a year in additional spending in the United States surpassing the costs associated with smoking.
The wide range of health conditions associated with obesity have increased the medical costs for obese individuals: and extra $1,152 annually for men, and $3,613 a year for women. Those figures are from a new documentary called “The Weight of the Nation,” set to air on HBO on May 14 and 15.
The financial load doesn’t weigh simply on the obese. It is also carried by the rest of the population, hidden in increased health insurance premiums and taxes to support programs like Medicaid.
Workers will also notice the additional burden.
Obese people are more likely to miss work: 5.9 more sick days for men and 9.4 more for women. That amounts to $6.4 billion lost in productivity.
What’s more, even when at work, obese workers lose a month of productive work a year due to their added bulk.
Obesity is also impacting much of the nation’s infrastructure. Hospitals, trains, and planes are enlarging seats, toilets and entry ways to accommodate the expanding U.S. population.
More money is also being shelled out for gasoline, because it takes more energy to move the added weight. An extra 938 million gallons of gasoline are expended each year due to people being overweight or obese. The cost for the added fuel: $4 billion.
The percentage of American classified as obese has tripled since 1960 to 34 percent, while the number of those labeled morbidly obese has swelled to 6 percent.