Much of the focus on obesity has concentrated on its negative impact on individual health. A new report from the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services’ department of health policy has discovered that obesity can also negatively impact a person’s bank account. The report’s authors analyzed lost productivity, medical expenditures and other factors. According to the report, the annual individual cost of being obese is $4,879 for women and $2,646 for men. Additionally, when the authors factored in “the value of lost life” (premature mortality), that cost increased to $8,365 for women and $6,518 for men annually.
“These data, coupled with the widely reported costs of obesity to society, continue to highlight the enormous overall financial impact of this epidemic,” said Christine Ferguson, JD, professor of health policy. “Being able to quantify the individual’s economic burden of excess weight may give new urgency to public policy discussions regarding solutions for the obesity epidemic.”