Cost of childhood obesity

Childhood obesity is a costly issue in the U.S. New research estimates the price tag is about $19,000 per child.

Researchers from Duke Global Health Institute and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School determined the cost of childhood obesity by analyzing medical data and costs related to obesity and compared it with the costs for normal-weight children who remain a normal weight into adulthood, according to a Time article.

Researchers included not only payment for doctor appointments and medications, but also less tangible costs, such as lost productivity as working adults.

When the $19,000 per child price tag is multiplied by the actual number of obese 10-year-olds in the U.S., the lifetime medical costs for just that population climbs to about $14 billion, according to the article.

The researchers also calculated the cost for some normal-weight children becoming obese as they age. That cost is about $12,900 per child, according to the article.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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