Weighing Down America: The Health and Economic Impact of Obesity
By Hugh Waters and Ross DeVol
Obesity and excess weight is an expanding health problem for more than 60 percent of Americans, and a new study by Hugh Waters and Ross DeVol finds that it's a tremendous drain on the U.S. economy as well. The total cost to treat health conditions related to obesity—ranging from diabetes to Alzheimer's—plus obesity's drag on attendance and productivity at work exceeds $1.4 trillion annually. That's more than twice what the U.S. spends on national defense. The total, from 2014 data, was equivalent to 8.2 percent of U.S. GDP, and it exceeds the economies of all but three U.S. states and all but 10 countries. The report also highlights how this public health challenge can best be addressed.