what are we going to do about the cost of obesity?

October 8, 2010

in health care

i have obesity on my mind.

it’s not cheap to be obese. a study by the george washington university school of public health has quantified it:

  • $8,365 annually for a woman and
  • $6,518 annually for a man.

it’s a logical reflex to say, well, that’s only money—there’s a lot more tied up in being obese. however, these figures account for the value of lost life, too.

another look into obesity, specifically at latino childhood obesity, showed other cost factors: low self-esteem, impaired learning development, social stigmatization.

and today there’s an article on a duke study that found the cost of obese workers to the workplace to be $73.1 billion per year. that figure’s staggering, but what got me is this quote from dr. mitchell roslin:

“‘As a society, the message is clear. As important as education is to our future, so is our health. No child left behind has to mean more than just reading and arithmetic, and cannot separate health, fitness and emotional maturation…”

the cost of obesity extends beyond each individual’s pysche, health and prospects. it extends into our families, our work, our society and our world. i don’t know how we’re going to tackle it. i just hope that we do.


[hat tip to ben miller for the duke study.]

Leave a Comment

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Andre October 8, 2010 at 9:45 am

you and me both.


fran October 8, 2010 at 9:49 am

some days it feels hopeless and i feel helpless. sigh.



Shaun Emerson October 8, 2010 at 9:57 am


Me, too! Saw this article the other day and, without getting into the legal issues of the termination, I just couldn’t get my head around the implications of the headline. http://www.hrmorning.com/obesity-the-next-deluge-of-disability-bias-suits/


fran October 8, 2010 at 10:03 am

there’s no doubt that those who are obese are discriminated against. the article on the duke study closes with a quote about the current and potential discrimination that’ll arise as we put figures to the cost to the workplace. as an old boss of mine used to say, “it’s a spider’s nightmare.”



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