WASHINGTON (AP) - As Congress continues to debate ways to reduce
escalating health care costs, new research spells out the economic
importance of weight control.
in the journal Health Affairs warns that medical expenses for obese people average $1,400 more a year than for someone at their normal weight.
The study says the higher costs are to cover treating a range of weight-related ailments, including diabetes and heart disease.
Researchers say obesity-related conditions now account for more than 9 percent of all medical spending, up from 6.5 percent in 1998, and that overall obesity-related health spending has hit $147 billion -- nearly double what it was nearly 10 years earlier.
The study was done by government scientists and the nonprofit
research group RTI International.
In a blunt message to Congressional leaders, RTI health economist Eric Finkelstein warns that unless obesity is addressed, lawmakers are "never going to address rising health care costs."