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US obesity levels soar

Healthcare spending on obesity rose 82 per cent to $303bn in five years from 2001 to 2006

US healthcare spending on obesity soared in the five years from 2001 – 2006, according to figures from a government report, with expenditure rising 82 per cent to $303bn.

Healthcare costs for overweight people rose 36 per cent to $275bn in the period, while spending on healthy-weight individuals increased by 25 per cent to $260bn.

Obese people accounted for 28 per cent of healthcare spending in 2001, this climbed to 35 per cent in 2006, while expenditure for healthy-weight people fell from 35 per cent in 2001 to 30 per cent in 2006.

Between 2001 and 2006, the number of obese adults in the US rose to 59 million from 48 million. The number of healthy-weight people fell from 79.6 million to 78.3 million, according to figures from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.

According to the report, 59.7 per cent of the US population is obese – in most cases obese individuals have a least one chronic disease, such as diabetes or heart disease, putting a further strain on healthcare spending.

20th August 2009

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