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Obesity Costs US Employers $45 billion a Year

Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 03:18PM by Registered CommenterPennino Corp. CEO | CommentsPost a Comment

By Beth Jinks

April 9 (Bloomberg) -- Obesity costs U.S. businesses about $45 billion a year in medical expenses and lost work, according to a report today from The Conference Board.

Being severely overweight is associated with a 36 percent increase in spending for health-care services -- more than smoking or problem drinking, the New York-based business research group found. Medication spending is 77 percent higher for obese patients, the report said.

More than 30 percent of American adults are obese, up from 15 percent in 1980, and treating the condition consumes 5 to 7 percent of the U.S. national health-care budget, the report said. Obesity makes people more susceptible to diabetes, heart problems and other serious conditions.

``Employees' obesity-related health problems in the U.S. are costing companies billions of dollars each year in medical coverage and absenteeism,'' Linda Barrington, a report co-author and labor economist at The Conference Board said in a statement. ``Employers need to pay attention to their workers' weights.''

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