Childhood Obesity Costs $14 Billion
(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Childhood obesity costs $19,000 per child over a lifetime, according to an analysis at the Duke Global Health Institute and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore. When multiplied by the number of obese 10-year-olds in the U.S., lifetime medical costs reach $14 billion.
For the analysis, researchers evaluated and updated existing evidence of lifetime childhood obesity costs. Based on the evidence, the researchers recommended using $19,000 as the estimated lifetime medical cost of an obese child and $12,900 per obese child when considering the possibility of normal weight children becoming overweight or obese in adulthood. The analysis measured direct medical costs for obesity, such as doctor visits and medication. Additional research is needed to estimate indirect costs.
“These estimates provide the financial consequences of inaction and the potential medical savings from obesity prevention efforts that successfully reduce or delay obesity onset,” lead author Eric Andrew Finkelstein, Ph.D., M.H.A., was quoted as saying. “While the cost estimates are significant, the motivation to prevent childhood obesity should be there regardless of the financial implications.”
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SOURCE: Pediatrics, April 2014
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