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Surgeon General; Obesity


More than 60% of the United States population is overweight or obese, and if the current trajectory continues, 50% of the population will be obese by 2030. There is no question that being obese or overweight, is more costly than being of normal weight. Using existing literature, we have detailed the costs incurred due to overweight and obesity that affect working-age adults at the individual level.

Among the items discussed in this review, overweight or obese individuals bear the full burden for some costs, such as the value of lost life, lost wages, gasoline costs, and, when applicable, life insurance. Employers and employees share the burden for many other costs, including direct medical costs, short-term disability, disability pension insurance, absenteeism, and productivity losses. Employers directly pick up the costs for many of these expenditures. However, employees indirectly share part of this burden through lower wages. In addition, through publicly funded programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, the government pays a significant portion of direct medical costs for their beneficiaries.

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