Study: Obesity Costs U.S. $270 Billion Yearly

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Obesity is taking a heavy economic toll on the United States, according to a newsletter published Tuesday by the National Health Information Center.

The Society of Actuaries has revealed in their latest report that obesity is costing the U.S $270 billion a year and Canada $30 billion a year. They say the cost comes from the need for medical care for the obese and the fact that obese employees get sick more often and leave the work force earlier.

The study crunched numbers from 500 research articles published between January 1980 and June 2009.

"Overweight and obesity have been shown to increase the rate of several common adverse medical conditions, resulting in this extraordinary economic cost to society," study author Don Behan said in a SOA news release.

"We can't stand back and ignore the fact that overweight and obesity are drivers of cost increases and detrimental economic effects. It's time for actuaries, the employer community and the insurance industry to take action and help consumers make smart, healthy decisions," he added.

The group says people need to be encouraged to follow healthy lifestyles.

People are considered overweight if their body-mass index is between 25 and 29.9 and obese if their BMI is higher than 30.

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