Annual obesity cost: Women $4.9K, $2.6K

Sept. 21, 2010 at 11:33 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- The overall, tangible, annual costs of being obese in the United States are $4,879 for each woman and $2,646 for each obese man, researchers found.

Avi Dor, Christine Ferguson, Casey Langwith and Ellen Tan of George Washington University calculated the direct and indirect costs of being overweight and obese.

Annually, for women the cost of being overweight is $524 and for men $432, but adding the value of lost life to these annual costs produces more dramatic results. The average annualized costs, including value of lost life, are $8,365 for obese women and $6,518 for obese men, the researchers say.

"The picture we have created is only a partial look at the individual costs related to obesity," the researchers say. For those who are overweight, the main cost drivers are direct medical costs -- 66 percent for women and 80 percent for men. However, only one-third of the overall costs for obese women are medical costs -- they are affected mainly by lost wages for obese women."

Some of the costs are out-of-pocket and insurance-covered expenditures related to physician services, office-based care, outpatient and inpatient hospital care, emergency room care, dental care and pharmaceuticals. Other costs include days absent from work, time lost at work because of lower productivity, short-term disability, disability pension insurance, years of life lost measured by the dollar value of a quality-adjusted life as well as daily costs of clothing, daily needs and additional gasoline use.

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