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HHS HealthBeat (January 10, 2014)

Overweight costs

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Researchers say overweight can carry a heavy cost in health care expenses. At Duke University, Truls Ostbye saw that in data on insurance claims for 17,000 Duke employees who had annual health appraisals from 2001 to 2011.

Ostbye compared bills and employees’ BMIs – a ratio of weight to height. He says costs rose gradually from the low healthy BMI level to the obese, but the difference across the range was striking:

"Approximately a doubling of the costs when you went from the low recommended to fairly severely obese."

Obese people had costs averaging almost $4,900 a year.

The study in the journal Obesity was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: January 10, 2014