The health cost of obesity in the United States is as high as 147 billion dollars annually, based on a new study released on Monday.
The study from non-profit research institute RTI International and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that obesity now accounts for 9.1 percent of all medical spending, up from 6.5 percent in 1998. Obese people spend 42 percent, or US$1,429 per year, in healthcare costs more than people of normal weight.
"It is critical that we take effective steps to contain and reduce the enormous burden of obesity on our nation," said CDC Director Thomas Frieden at CDC's Weight of the Nation conference, where the study was presented.
Recognizing the heavy health and economic burden of obesity, the CDC outlined 24 new recommendations to help communities tackle the obesity problem by encouraging healthy eating and physical activity.
"These new recommendations and their proposed measurements are a powerful and practical tool to help state and local governments, school districts, and local partners take necessary action," Frieden said.
William H. Dietz, director of CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, said that obesity was a risk for a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers.
"Reversing this epidemic requires a multifaceted and coordinated approach that uses policy and environmental change to transform communities into places that support and promote healthy lifestyle choices for all people," he said.
According to the CDC, more than 26 percent of Americans are obese, and the obesity rate rose 0.5 percent between 2007 and 2008.
(Xinhua News Agency July 28, 2009)