The Business of Obesity Obesity is a major drain on America's bottom line, with impact on medical, personal, and infrastructure costs.
Obesity in America - Over 2/3 of Americans over 20 are overweight (BMI over 25.) - By state, obesity prevalance in the U.S. ranges from 21% in Colorado (lowest) to 34% in Mississippi (highest.) (2010) - The USA has the 2nd highest obesity rate in the world (after Mexico.) (2010)
Unexpected Costs of Obesity - According to a 2010 estimate, obesity-related medical care in America costs $160 billion per year. - The estimated indirect cost of obesity in America is $450 billion per year (2011.) These costs are divided into: 1) Incremental food costs, plus sized clothing, and weight loss - $140 billion 2) Medical cost for medication, surgeries, and doctor visits - $160 billion 3) Absenteeism, decreased productivity, and short term disability - $130 billion 4) Increased fuel, electricity and other - $20 billion
Individual Costs - Taking into count things like lost life, lost wages, gasoline costs, and life insurance obese men spend $2646 extra per year, obese women $4879 per year, overweight women $524 per year, and overweight men $432 per year. - Obese men and women are paid less than their professional healthier counterparts. As of 2008, about $3.41 per hour less than healthier peers, which is partially attributed to higher health insurance premiums. Obese women are particularly affected, earning 11% less than their healthy counterparts (2012.)
Transportation - Americans consumer 938 million extra gallons of gas/year due to increased passenger weight (2006 estimate.) This is $4 billion in obesity related gasoline costs. - In 2000, airlines used an estimated 350 million additional gallons of fuel to handle weight increases. Airline passengers gained 10 lbs on average between 1990 and 2000. - Commuter trains in New York are consindering a maximum seat capacity of 400 lbs (2012.) - Seats are being widened by 2.2 inches on New Jersey Transit.
Hospitals - Hospitals are investing in equipment to handle heavier patients, including plus sized wheelchairs, mini-cranes, new MRI and CT imaging equipment (standard machines can't handle patients who weigh more than 350 lbs - forcing hospitals to spend over $1.5 million open MRI scanners that can hold up to 550 lbs.) - Gastric bypass surgeries have skyrocketed, from 13,386 in 1998 to 220,000 in 2008.
Business Opportunities - Clothing: Plus sized women's clothing stores are set to bring in more than $7.5 billion in 2012, a 5.6% increase. The average size in American women's clothing is a 14. - Weight loss: An estimated 72 million Americans are on a diet, making dieting a $61 billion industry (2011.) This is up from $40 billion spent in 2008.
Future Implications - 86% of Americans are expected to be overweight by 2030, with 42% obese. Almost 70.1% of Americans are considered overweight in 2012.
- If current trends continue, the market for plus size clothing, weight management products, and accomodating household goods is bound to rapidly increase as well.