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United States State-level estimated costs of Obesity

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A more recent study by Finkelstein, Fiebelkorn, and Wang, 2004, focused on state-level estimates of total, Medicare and Medicaid obesity attributable medical expenditures. The researchers used the 1998 MEPS linked to the 1996 and 1997 NHIS, and three years of data (1998–2000) from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to predict annual state level estimates of medical expenditures attributable to obesity (Body Mass Index, BMI greater than 30).

 

State-level estimates range from $87 million (Wyoming) to $7.7 billion (California). Obesity-attributable Medicare estimates range from $15 million (Wyoming) to $1.7 billion (California), and obesity-attributable Medicaid expenditures range from $23 million (Wyoming) to $3.5 billion (New York). The state differences in obesity-attributable expenditures are partly driven by the differences in the size of each state's population.

 

These state-level estimates can assist state policymakers to determine how best to allocate public health resources and provide information concerning the economic impact of obesity in a state. However, these estimates should not be used to make comparisons across states, or between payers within states. In addition, these state-estimated data are limited to direct medical costs, as defined above, and not indirect costs (example: absenteeism and decreased productivity) attributed to obesity.

 

The following table shows the estimated percentage of total, Medicare, and Medicaid adult medical expenses that are attributable to obesity.

 

Estimated Adult Obesity-attributable Percentages and Expenditures by State (BRFSS 1998 to 2000)

 

State

Total population
(%)

Millions (US$)

Medicare population
(%)

Millions
(US$)

Medicaid population
(%)

Millions (US$)

Alabama

6.3

$1320

7.7

$341

9.9

$269

Alaska

6.7

$195

7.7

$17

8.2

$29

Arizona

4.0

$752

3.9

$154

13.5*

$242

Arkansas

6.0

$663

7.0

$171

11.5

$180

California

5.5

$7675

6.1

$1738

10.0

$1713

Colorado

5.1

$874

5.1

$139

8.7

$158

Connecticut

4.3

$856

6.5

$246

11.0

$419

Delaware

5.1

$207

9.8

$57

13.8

$66

District of Columbia

6.7

$372

6.5

$64

12.5

$114

Florida

5.1

$3987

6.1

$1290

11.6

$900

Georgia

6.0

$2133

7.1

$405

10.1

$385

Hawaii

4.9

$290

4.8

$30

11.2

$90

Idaho

5.3

$227

5.6

$40

12.0

$69

Illinois

6.1

$3439

7.8

$805

12.3

$1045

Indiana

6.0

$1637

7.2

$379

15.7

$522

Iowa

6.0

$783

7.5

$165

9.4

$198

Kansas

5.5

$657

6.4

$138

10.2*

$143

Kentucky

6.2

$1163

7.5

$270

11.4

$340

Louisiana

6.4

$1373

7.4

$402

12.9

$525

Maine

5.6

$357

5.7

$66

10.7

$137

Maryland

6.0

$1533

7.7

$368

12.9

$391

Massachusetts

4.7

$1822

5.6

$446

7.8

$618

Michigan

6.5

$2931

7.8

$748

13.2

$882

Minnesota

5.0

$1307

6.6

$227

8.6

$325

Mississippi

6.5

$757

8.1

$223

11.6

$221

Missouri

6.1

$1636

7.1

$413

11.9

$454

Montana

4.9

$175

6.2

$41

9.8

$48

Nebraska

5.8

$454

7.0

$94

10.3

$114

Nevada

4.8

$337

5.0

$74

10.1*

$56

New Hampshire

5.0

$302

5.4

$46

8.6*

$79

New Jersey

5.5

$2342

7.1

$591

9.8

$630

New Mexico

4.8

$324

4.6

$51

8.5

$84

New York

5.5

$6080

6.7

$1391

9.5

$3539

North Carolina

6.0

$2138

7.0

$448

11.5

$662

North Dakota

6.1

$209

7.7

$45

11.7

$55

Oklahoma

6.0

$854

7.0

$227

9.9

$163

Ohio

6.1

$3304

7.7

$839

10.3

$914

Oregon

5.7

$781

6.0

$145

8.8

$180

Pennsylvania

6.2

$4138

7.4

$1187

11.6

$1219

Puerto Rico

7.4

 

8.1

 

10.1

 

Rhode Island

5.2

$305

6.5

$83

7.7

$89

South Carolina

6.2

$1060

7.7

$242

10.6

$285

South Dakota

5.3

$195

5.9

$36

9.9

$45

Tennessee

6.4

$1840

7.6

$433

10.5

$488

Texas

6.1

$5340

6.8

$1209

11.8

$1177

Utah

5.2

$393

5.8

$62

9.0

$71

Vermont

5.3

$141

6.9

$29

8.6

$40

Virginia

5.7

$1641

6.7

$320

13.1

$374

Washington

5.4

$1330

6.0

$236

9.9

$365

West Virginia

6.4

$588

7.3

$140

11.4

$187

Wisconsin

5.8

$1486

7.7

$306

9.1

$320

Wyoming

4.9

$87

5.9

$15

8.5

$23

Total

5.7

$75,051

6.8

$17,701

10.6

$21,329


*Estimates based on fewer than 20 observations.

Source: CDC, and Finkelstein, EA, Fiebelkorn, IC, Wang, G. State-Level Estimates of Annual Medical Expenditures Attributable to Obesity. Obesity Research 2004;12(1):18–24.

See Recommended References

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