Findings from a new study published in the journal Chemical Chemistry show a substantial and rising percentage of healthcare costs are associated with obesity. This is true for the US, for individual states, for each category of expenditure, and for each type of payer. Researchers analyzed data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) for 2001–2015 and estimated the percentage of healthcare costs that were associated with adult obesity, both for the US as a whole and for the most populous states. They also reviewed the literature on the impact of obesity on economic outcomes such as medical care costs, employment, and wages. The percent of US national medical expenditures devoted to treating obesity-related illness in adults rose from 6.13% in 2001 to 7.91% in 2015, an increase of 29%. Substantial differences existed across states; in 2015, some states (AZ, CA, FL, NY) devoted 5%–6% of medical expenditures to obesity, whereas others (NC, OH, WI) spent >12% of all healthcare dollars on obesity.
- The Impact of Obesity on Medical Care Costs and Labor Market Outcomes in the US. Clinical Chemistry. January 2018