Looking to lead a stronger, healthier life?
Sign up for our Wellness Wire newsletter for all sorts of nutrition, fitness, and wellness wisdom.

Now we’re in this together.
Thanks for subscribing and having us along on your health and wellness journey.

See all Healthline's newsletters »
Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

See all posts »

Obesity and Health Care Costs

With all of the talk of controlling health care costs, studies find that obesity is one of the biggest contributors to obesity. A study by RTI International found that people who are 30 pounds or more overweight cost $147 Billion in medical bills that are weight related in 2008 in America. Since 1994, the number of obese in America has gone up from 23% to 34% of adults.

In fact, in the past 10 years obesity has accounted for 2.5% more in health care costs, to 9.1% of all medical spending up from 6.5% in 1998. An obese patient has almost $5000 in medical bills each year compared to $3400 for a healthy weight person.

The study by RTI found that obesity is the biggest reason for the increase in health care costs. Carrying extra pounds causes higher incidences of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other diseases.

The average American is 23 pounds overweight according to Thomas Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Guess who is paying for the $147 Billion? We all are...taxpayers paid half of the amount through Medicare and Medicaid in 2008. Obese patients on Medicare spend about $600 more in prescription medications alone than someone at a healthy weight.

These numbers are shocking and proves once again how important it is for all of us to watch our diet and exercise regularly in an attempt to control our weight.
  • 1
Was this article helpful? Yes No

About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

Recent Blog Posts