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More than 20 percent of healthcare costs linked to obesity issues

Posted On Tue, April 17, 2012

Cornell University recently released a study which showed that obesity costs now take up more than one-fifth of all healthcare costs in the United States.

In 2005 dollars, the average medical costs of an obese individual is $2,741 more than those who are not obese, according to the study, which was published in the Journal of Health Economics. When accounting for the entire U.S., the figure is $190.2 billion annually, much higher than the initial thought of 9.1 percent - or $85.7 billion. The current level makes obesity costs equal 20.6 percent of all healthcare costs in the country.

"Historically we've been underestimating the benefit of preventing and reducing obesity," said lead author John Cawley, Cornell professor of policy analysis and management. "Obesity raises the risk of cancer, stroke, heart attack and diabetes."

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