Childhood Obesity Comes With A Price Tag Of $19,200 Medical Expenses

By on April 7, 2014

A new study found out that childhood obesity will result in spending an estimated cost of $19,200 in lifetime for medical expenses when compared to a child who maintains normal weight throughout lifetime.

Obesity is one of the leading health problems in USA, and many other countries of the world. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 33% of adult American residents, and 20% of children in America are obese.

Obesity is one of the main causes for many dangerous health conditions such as health problems, diabetes, and even some types of cancer.

This study was conducted by Duke Global Health Institute and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore.

Childhood Obesity - Lifetime Medical ExpensesThe study stated that if we multiply this estimated lifetime medical expenses of $19,200 with number of obese children aged 10years in USA; it alone reached $14billion for lifetime medical expenses.

It was also stated by the study that the same lifetime medical expenses reduces to $12,900 if a normal weighing child becomes obese in his or her adulthood.

Eric Andrew Finkelstein, Ph.D., M.H.A., who is the main lead of this study, said that the top priority of the public health should be controlling childhood obesity and this has many health and economical benefits.

He also said that these estimates will help in estimating the financial consequences that will arise due to not preventing childhood obesity, and also in estimating the medical savings due to controlling childhood obesity.

Rahul Malhotra, M.B.B.S., M.D., M.P.H., co-author of this study said that when it comes to obesity in adults, prevention of obesity should be carried on from childhood itself because most of the children and teen, who are obese continue to be obese in adulthood.


The researchers of the study evaluated the existing data related to the lifetime medical expenses of childhood obesity for estimating this figure of $19,200. These expenses included only direct expenses, which includes doctor’s consultation fees, and medication. But the study does not included indirect expenses like loss of productivity at work, and absenteeism.

Eric Andrew Finkelstein said that just like we don’t encourage our children to drink or smoke, or we force them go to school, even if they don’t like to go; we should encourage our children to maintain healthy weight.

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