Economic Costs Associated with Overweight, Obesity, and Physical Inactivity in California

The California Center for Public Health Advocacy has commissioned for an estimation of the economic burden associated with unhealthy lifestyles of California residents. Their eye-popping results display that risk factors such as overweight, obesity, and physical activity, both individually and collectively, have profound health consequences for the people of California while also negatively influencing the economic situation of the state.

Americans’ prevalence for fast food, sedentary activities, and fast-paced lifestyles has led to adverse health conditions which not only lead to premature illness, disability, and death but also contribute to the nation’s rising medical care costs. Unfortunately, it is often the businesses, taxpayers, and government who are the entities paying the price for these poor choices. CCPHA estimates that the cost to California for overweight, obesity, and physical activity in 2006 to be $41.2 billion, of which $21 billion was attributable to overweight and obesity and $20.2 billion was attributable to physical activity. Rising healthcare costs and a loss of productivity are the primary culprits for these numbers.

A modest reduction in the prevalence of these unhealthy risk factors of just 5% per year would benefit the state of California immensely, with nearly $2.4 billion in average per year savings. CCPHA advocates for the development and implementation of strategies and policies which promote healthy eating and physical activity which would decrease the burden on the employers and taxpayers currently taking up these costs. However, if nothing is done we can expect to see dramatic increases in these numbers.

To read the brief, click here

For a table displaying the costs of healthcare and lost productivity for the three risk factors in Southern California counties, click here

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