Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Over a lifetime, childhood obesity costs $19,000 per child

Date:
April 7, 2014
Source:
Duke Medicine
Summary:
Childhood obesity comes with an estimated price tag of $19,000 per child when comparing lifetime medical costs to those of a normal weight child, according to an analysis. When multiplied by the number of obese 10-year-olds in the United States, lifetime medical costs for this age alone reach roughly $14 billion.

Obesity is a known risk factor for a wide range of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Roughly one in three adults and one in five children in the United States are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Credit: Jaimie Duplass / Fotolia

Childhood obesity comes with an estimated price tag of $19,000 per child when comparing lifetime medical costs to those of a normal weight child, according to an analysis led by researchers at the Duke Global Health Institute and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore. When multiplied by the number of obese 10-year-olds in the United States, lifetime medical costs for this age alone reach roughly $14 billion.

An alternative estimate, which takes into account the possibility of normal weight children gaining weight in adulthood, reduces the cost to $12,900 per obese child. The findings appear online April 7, 2014, in the journal Pediatrics.

“Reducing childhood obesity is a public health priority that has substantial health and economic benefits,” said lead author Eric Andrew Finkelstein, Ph.D., M.H.A. “These estimates provide the financial consequences of inaction and the potential medical savings from obesity prevention efforts that successfully reduce or delay obesity onset.”

Obesity is a known risk factor for a wide range of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Roughly one in three adults and one in five children in the United States are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Addressing obesity in adults requires efforts to prevent or reduce obesity among children, as research has shown most obese children and teenagers remain obese into adulthood,” said study coauthor Rahul Malhotra, M.B.B.S., M.D., M.P.H.

While some progress has been made in lowering obesity rates in children within certain age groups and regions, childhood obesity remains a significant health problem.

“Public health interventions should be prioritized on their ability to improve health at a reasonable cost,” Finkelstein said. “In order to understand the cost implications of obesity prevention efforts, it is necessary to accurately quantify the burden of childhood obesity if left untreated.”

To determine a current estimate for lifetime medical costs, the researchers evaluated and updated the existing evidence on lifetime costs of childhood obesity. Based on this evidence, the researchers recommend using $19,000 as the estimated lifetime medical cost of an obese child when compared with a child of normal weight who maintains a normal weight throughout adult life, and $12,900 per obese child when considering the possibility of normal weight children becoming overweight or obese in adulthood.

The researchers noted that their study measures direct medical costs for obesity, such as doctors’ visits and medication, and does not take into account indirect costs, including absenteeism and lost productivity in working adults. Additional research is needed to estimate indirect costs.

They also noted that cost is only one reason to address childhood obesity.

“For the same reasons we don’t let kids drink or smoke and force them to go to school, we should also do our best to keep them at a healthy weight,” Finkelstein said. “While the cost estimates are significant, the motivation to prevent childhood obesity should be there regardless of the financial implications.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Eric Andrew Finkelstein, Wan Chen Kang Graham, and Rahul Malhotra. Lifetime Direct Medical Costs of Childhood Obesity. Pediatrics, April 2014 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2014-0063

Cite This Page:

Duke Medicine. "Over a lifetime, childhood obesity costs $19,000 per child." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140407090220.htm>.
Duke Medicine. (2014, April 7). Over a lifetime, childhood obesity costs $19,000 per child. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140407090220.htm
Duke Medicine. "Over a lifetime, childhood obesity costs $19,000 per child." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140407090220.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins