A new report suggests rising obesity among the American people may cost the United States a hefty $344 billion in medical costs by 2018.
USA Today reports that if Americans continue to pack on the pounds, obesity related illnesses may consume up to 21 percent of health care spending in the next nine years.
Reed Tuckson is a senior vice president at the United Health Foundation and a sponsor of the report with the American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention.
"There is a tsunami of chronic preventable disease about to be unleashed into our medical-care system which is increasingly unaffordable," Tuckson warned.
In addition, health experts say being overweight will soon be the driver in rising health costs.
By 2018, it's estimated an obese person will have to pay nearly $2,500 more a year in medical bills compared with $8,300 for someone at a healthy weight.
"This report is an urgent call to take much more aggressive action to deal with key disease risk factors such as obesity and smoking," Tuckson said.