Healthcare Business

The Obesity Index: The Cost of Obesity by State

Health care costs for treating obesity-related illness are as high as $149 billion per year, according to a report released by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  There are more than 72 million people in the United States who are obese.

The report warns that the problem is only getting worse.  From 2007 to 2009, 2.4 million more adults became overweight.  And because obesity is tied to a number of illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes and certain kinds of cancer, the medical costs of a person suffering from obesity are $1,429 more than a person of average weight.

Although the numbers of adults who are obese vary from state to state, the lowest percentage of obesity does not fall below 18% in any single state.  The average is more than 25%.

The obesity problem has reached an inflection point and it may now be the most serious health issue facing the nation.  Reflecting on this crisis, the First Lady launched the “Let’s Move” project, encouraging exercise to fight childhood obesity.  Similarly, state and federal government programs have been sponsored to encourage a healthier lifestyle.

24/7 Wall St. looked at the percentage of obesity in each state and compared it to the state’s population, as reported by the 2009 census.  We then took the total population suffering from obesity and multiplied that number by $1,429. The following is the rate of obesity by state, highest to lowest, and the possible cost to treat obesity-related illnesses by state.


*Percentage Obese: 18.6%

*Population: 5,024,748

*Number Of Obese: 934,603

*Cost: $1,335,547,869

District of Columbia

*Percentage Obese: 19.7%

*Population: 599,657

*Number Of Obese: 118,132

*Cost: $1,035,692,511


*Percentage Obese: 20.6%

*Population: 3,518,288

*Number Of Obese: 724,767

*Cost: $1,035,692,511


*Percentage Obese: 21.4%

*Population: 6,593,587

*Number Of Obese: 1,411,027

*Cost: $2,016,358,466


*Percentage Obese: 22.3%

*Population: 1,295,178

*Number Of Obese: 288,824

*Cost: $412,730,487


*Percentage Obese: 22.8%

*Population: 621,760

*Number Of Obese: 141,767

*Cost: $202,576,869


*Percentage Obese: 23.0%

*Population: 3,825,657

*Number Of Obese: 879,901

*Cost: $1,257,378,686


*Percentage Obese: 23.2%

*Population: 974,989

*Number Of Obese: 226,197

*Cost: $323,236,153

New Jersey

*Percentage Obese: 23.3%

*Population: 8,707,739

*Number Of Obese: 2,028,903

*Cost: $2,899,302,654


*Percentage Obese: 23.5%

*Population: 2,784,572

*Number Of Obese: 654,274

*Cost: $935,101,046

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