Lehigh University
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In the news: Researchers say obesity is taking a larger bite out of U.S. medical costs

Chad Meyerhoefer, assistant professor of economic, studies the economics of health and nutrition.

How much of the money spent on healthcare in the United States can be attributed to obesity?

A 2009 study estimated that obesity-related medical costs in America had reached $147 billion, or about 9 percent of the total amount of money Americans spend annually on medical care.

Now, two researchers—Chad Meyerhoefer, assistant professor of economics, and John Cawley, associate professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell University—claim that obesity’s impact on the nation’s healthcare bill is twice as large.

Their report, titled “The Medical Care Costs of Obesity: An Instrumental Variables Approach,” was published this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

It was the subject of a news article on Oct. 15 in the Washington Post.

Meyerhoefer and a colleague at the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently published a report in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics on the prices of low- and high-carbohydrate foods and their effect on the prevalence and medical cost of diabetes.

 

Story by Kurt Pfitzer

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

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