Though the rise in obesity in America is nothing new, what is new is our understanding of exactly how this increase in body weight is affecting everything from gas consumption to Medicaid expenditures.
Numerous recent studies have gone to great lengths to detail the financial impact the obesity epidemic is having on America’s health care system. It’s estimated that about 34% of all Americans are obese, while another 6% are morbidly obese. That means there are more than 120 million Americans who fall into the obese or morbidly obese category.
Obese Americans face more healthcare issues than their non-obese counterparts. For example, one study shows that a non-obese person spends an average of about $512 per year on health care costs, while an obese person spends about $3,300 per year. As a whole, the nation spends $190 billion a year in additional health-care expenses resulting from obesity, or roughly 21% of the total amount spent on health care per year.
These increased costs are absorbed both by the obese and non-obese alike. A recent study shows that health care costs for the obese lead to “third-party” payments, meaning other people have to pay for the increase in insurance premiums and Medicaid expenditures. Obese women cause a third-party payment increase of about $3,220 per year per person, while obese men cause a $967 per year, per person increase.