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The obesity epidemic: Pounds and dollars rise together

July 8, 2009 |  2:47 pm

Obesity3 Spending on healthcare for obese American adults increased 82% between 2001 and 2006, according to a new government report.

In 2001, expenditures for obese Americans totaled $167 billion compared with $303 billion in 2006. Costs for adults who were overweight rose 36% during that time period while costs for normal-weight adults increased 25%.

Healthcare expenditures for obese Americans accounted for 35% of all costs in 2006, the report noted. During the years of 2001 to 2006, the number of obese Americans increased from 48 million to 59 million people. Obese people are much more likely to suffer from several chronic health conditions.

One hopes the figures, which were compiled by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, will come to the attention of lawmakers and other authorities discussing healthcare reform. Perhaps the top goal of healthcare reform should be preventing obesity, and the myriad of health problems it causes, in our children.

-- Shari Roan

Illustration credit: Michelle Chang / For The Times