Health care spending on obese patients in the United States has ballooned, growing more than 80 percent over a five-year period.
Spending on the heaviest members of the population rose to $303.1 billion in 2006 from just $166.7 billion in 2001 — an 82 percent increase. That figure compares with a 36 percent increase in total expenditures for patients who were merely overweight and a 25 percent increase for normal-weight patients.
The increase in spending on health care for overweight and obese Americans tracks the general rise in obesity in the U.S. The number of obese jumped to 58.9 million from 48.2 million over the study period.