Obesity Costs All of Us

Menstuff® has compiled the following information on what obesity is costing your state government.

Real Time Death Toll as of

U.S. States Pay Billions in Obesity-Related Health-Care Costs


Obesity not only puts a strain on American's health, it's also taking a toll on our wallets.

A new study shows that obesity-related health-care costs reached an estimated $75 billion in 2003, and taxpayers foot the bill for about half of those expenses through Medicare and Medicaid.

Researchers found total obesity-related health-care costs varied greatly from state to state, ranging from a low of $87 million in Wyoming to a high of $7.7 billion in California.

Taxpayer-funded Medicare and Medicaid expenses attributed to obesity were highest in California and New York, respectively, with a combined price tag of more than $5 billion.

"Obesity has become a crucial health problem for our nation, and these findings show that the medical costs alone reflect the significance of the challenge," says Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson, in a news release. "Of course the ultimate cost to Americans is measured in chronic disease and early death. We must take responsibility both as individuals and working together to reduce the health toll associated with obesity."

Obesity is known to raise the risk of many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many types of cancer.

Obesity Taxes State Budgets

The study, published in the January issue of Obesity Research, used an economic model that predicted medical expenditures. Researchers say it's the first time obesity-related health-care costs have been examined at the state level and confirms previous studies that found obesity-related medical costs account for a large portion of total health-care spending.

Alaska and the District of Columbia spent the biggest chunk of their medical expenditures on obesity-related costs, which accounted for 6.7% of their spending. Arizona spent the least at 4% of total medical expenses.

Here's how each of the 50 states and District of Columbia fared, based on their 2003 estimated adult obesity-related spending:

Obesity Expenses Tax States

State
%
Total $ (2)

Alabama

6.3
$1,320

Alaska

6.7
$195

Arizona

4.0
$752

Arkansas

6.0
$663

California

5.5
$7,675

Colorado

5.1
$874

Connecticut

4.3
$856

Delaware

5.1
$207

District of Columbia

6.7

$372

Florida

5.1

$3,987

Georgia

6.0

$2,133

Hawaii

4.9

$290

Idaho

5.3

$227

Illinois

6.1

$3,439

Indiana

6.0

$1,637

Iowa

6.0

$783

Kansas

5.5

$657

Kentucky

6.2

$1,163

Louisiana

6.4

$1373

Maine

5.6

$357

Maryland

6.0

$1,533

Massachusetts

4.7

$1,822

Michigan

6.5

$2,931

Minnesota

5.0

$1,307

Mississippi

6.5

$757

Missouri

6.1

$1,636

Montana

4.9

$175

Nebraska

5.8

$454

Nevada

4.8

$337

New Hampshire

5.0

$302

New Jersey

5.5

$2,342

New Mexico

4.8

$324

New York

5.5

$6,080

North Carolina

6.0

$2138

North Dakota

6.1

$209

Ohio

6.1

$3,304

Oklahoma

6.0

$854

Oregon

5.7

$781

Pennsylvania

6.2

$4,138

Rhode Island

5.2

$305

South Carolina

6.2

$1,060

South Dakota

5.3

$195

Tennessee

6.4

$1,840

Texas

6.1

$5,340

Utah

5.2

$393

Vermont

5.3

$141

Virginia

5.7

$1,641

Washington

5.4

$1,330

West Virginia

6.4

$588

Wisconsin

5.8

$1,486

Wyoming

4.9

$87

Total

5.7

$75,051

(1) Percent (%) of total medical expenditures devoted to obesity costs:
(2) Total obesity-related expenditures (in millions):

"These estimates of obesity-attributable medical expenditures present the best available information concerning the economic impact of obesity at the state level," says researcher Eric A. Finkelstein, an economist at RTI International in Research Triangle Park, N.C., in a news release.

The model used to estimate obesity-related health-care costs was based on the 1988 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the 1996 and 1997 National Health Interview Surveys.

Source: By Jennifer Warner, Finkelstein, E. Obesity Research, January 2004; vol 12. News release, CDC.

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Gluttony is an emotional escape, a sign something is eating us. - Peter de Vries



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