Those Added Pounds Can Cost Big Bucks

September 22, 2010 ( – Carrying the extra pounds is not only a major health hazard, but also can represent a big hit in the pocketbook, according to a new study.

An Associated Press news report said George Washington University researchers started with the cost of obesity-related medical care and then tacked on things like employee sick days, lost productivity, even the need for extra gasoline.

The result for the annual cost of being obese: $4,879 for a woman and $2,646 for a man. That’s far more than the cost of being merely overweight — $524 for women and $432 for men,

The report also averaged in the economic value of lost life from obesity-related premature deaths, which brought women’s annual obesity costs up to $8,365, and men’s to $6,518.

Health policy professor and study co-author Christine Ferguson said the difference between the genders is due to the fact that larger women earn less than skinnier women, while wages don’t differ when men pack on the pounds.  Researchers had expected everybody’s wages to suffer with obesity, but “this indicates you’re not that disadvantaged as a guy, from a wage perspective,” Ferguson told the Associated Press.

Finally, when it comes to obesity costs, the research found that nearly 1 billion additional gallons of gasoline have been used every year because of increases in car passengers’ weight since 1960.

Researchers analyzed previously published studies to come up with a total obesity-related cost total.

The research report is available here.