Cost of Obesity Higher Than Cost of Smoking?

The health care costs associated with obesity have now topped those associated with smoking, according to a new report published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Researchers performed a cost-analysis using health care data from 30000 Mayo Clinic employees and retirees and found, with no surprise, that health care costs were higher for both smokers and obese individuals.  However, they found that obese people are incurring higher health care costs than smokers, with obesity associated with an average of $1,850 higher costs than those of normal weight, while smokers incur just $1,275 more than non-smokers. Additionally, morbidly obese people spend $5,500 more per year than people of normal weight, according to the cost-analysis.

The report shows that both smoking and obesity result in significantly higher health care costs, and with employers looking for ways of reducing health care costs, the findings support programs designed to help smoking cessation and encourage weight loss. Another recent report measuring the cost of obesity calculated that obesity accounts for 21 percent of all health care spending in the country. The report estimates that an obese person’s medical costs are actually higher than the Mayo Clinic’s finding, with an obese individual incurring $2,741 more in health care costs each year, compared to a person of normal weight.

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By | 2016-11-09T17:42:00+00:00 April 21st, 2012|Research and Education|0 Comments