Eric A. Finkelstein, Justin G. Trogdon, Joel W. Cohen, and William Dietz. Annual Medical Spending Attributable To Obesity: Payer- And Service-Specific Estimates. Health Affairs 28, no. 5 (2009): w822-w831 (published online 27 July 2009) [Abstract (html)]
In 1998 the medical costs of obesity were estimated to be as high as $78.5 billion, with roughly half financed by Medicare and Medicaid. This analysis presents updated estimates of the costs of obesity for the United States across payers (Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers), in separate categories for inpatient, non-inpatient, and prescription drug spending. We found that the increased prevalence of obesity is responsible for almost $40 billion of increased medical spending through 2006, including $7 billion in Medicare prescription drug costs. We estimate that the medical costs of obesity could have risen to $147 billion per year by 2008.