The Cost of Obesity

American spend more than $33 billion annually on weight loss, including low-calorie foods and fees at weight-loss clinics. A study estimated the health care cost of overweight and obesity to be $120 billion. This includes direct costs, such as doctor visits and medication, and indirect costs, such as wages lost by people too ill to work and the value of future earnings cut short by premature death. There are 63 million doctor visits per year related to obesity, and approximately 40 million workdays are lost.

—Paula Kepos elevated blood cholesterol, some cancers (e.g., colon, endometrial, kidney, gallbladder, and postmenopausal breast cancer), osteoarthritis, gallbladder disease, and respiratory disease. In addition, obesity is often associated with discrimination and prejudice, causing some obese people to suffer poor self-esteem and reduced quality of life. The health care costs attributable to obesity exceed $100 billion a year in the United States, more than 6 percent of the total health care costs.

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