New Report Explores the Economic Cost of Obesity

Feb 14, 2018

The prevalence of obesity has risen dramatically in the U.S. A new study explores the economic cost of treating diseases associated with obesity.

Researchers at Cornell University analyzed data from the Department of Health and Human Resource's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, both for the country as a whole and for the most populated states. They found that several rural states, including Ohio, North Carolina, and Wisconsin spent more than 12 percent of all health care dollars on obesity, while California, New York and Florida spent much less. Nationwide, a little more than 8 percent of health care was devoted to obesity.

West Virginia wasn’t included in the study because they said there wasn’t enough data for researchers to analyze. West Virginia is ranked number one in percentage of residents who are overweight or obese. 

Researchers said the different costs between states are driven by a number of factors, such as differences in obesity prevalence, health care access by obese individuals, how obesity is treated and prices of health care.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Marshall Health, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.