Cost of Treating Obesity Doubles

The medical costs of treating obesity-related diseases may have soared as high as $147 billion in 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday, as its new director set a fresh tone in favor of more aggressively attacking obesity.

The cost of treating obesity doubled over a decade, signaling the rising prevalence of excess weight and the toll it is taking on the health-care system. The medical costs of obesity were estimated to be $74 billion in 1998, according to a study by federal government researchers and RTI International, a nonprofit research institute in Research Triangle Park, N.C. , Wall Street Journal reports.

Meanwhile, the study published Monday by the journal Health Affairs says that obesity related health spending in the United States has reached close to 147 billion dollars. The sum is twice that of a decade ago.

Diabetes, arthritis and heart disease are among the many ailments commonly associated with being overweight and the rising number of such conditions is draining financial and medical resources. "Unless you address obesity, you're never going to address rising health care costs," RTI International's health economist Eric Finkelstein said , Xinhua reports.

Most of the excess spending is for prescription drugs needed to manage obesity-related conditions, said Eric A. Finkelstein, one of the study’s authors and the director of the public health economics program at the Research Triangle Institute, a nonprofit research organization ,New York Times reports.