Besides affecting people’s longevity and the quality of their lives, obesity is a major health issue impacting every employer and trade union providing healthcare coverage.
Approximately11% of total health care costs are related to obesity. 55% to 78% of the rise of pharmaceutical costs is associated with obesity
Compared to non-obese workmates, employers spend 36% more in healthcare costs for obese employees. For a company of 3,500 employees, obesity would cost about $1,000,000 a year. (The above figures are based on a 2005 report by the CDC and RTI International.) With obesity comes a greatly elevated risk of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, stroke, gall bladder disease, dyslipidemia, gastroesophegeal reflux disease, sleep apnea, depression and certain types of cancer.
In addition to the medical, surgical, pharmaceutical and hospitalization costs resulting from these disorders, obesity creates indirect costs as well: sick leave, productivity loss, missed deadlines, temporary staffing, replacement training, peer frustration and the customer satisfaction and quality issues that accompany disrupted performance.
If the prevalence of obesity continues to increase at the rate of the last 30 years, 41% of the U.S. population will be obese by 2015.