ATLANTA – New research suggests that almost 17 percent of medical costs in the U.S. can be blamed on obesity.
It suggests that the nation’s weight problem may be having close to twice the impact as previously estimated. The new study pegs annual obesity-related costs around $168 billion.
The new research was done by John Cawley of Cornell University and Chad Meyerhoefer of Lehigh University. It was released this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization.
An influential recent study released last year estimated that obesity-related medical costs have reached $147 billion, or about 9 percent of total medical costs. That study has been cited by federal health officials.