Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Medical Costs of Childhood Obesity in Maine

Gabe, Todd (2012): Medical Costs of Childhood Obesity in Maine.

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Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine the medical costs of childhood obesity in Maine. Primary data collected on school-aged children across the state, supplemented with statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, indicate that 7.8 percent of Maine children and adolescents are obese. These statistics combined with adult obesity rates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 23.1 percent of the overall Maine population is obese. Using information from published academic studies, we find that the annual medical costs of obesity in Maine are an estimated $452.7 million. Childhood obesity is particularly problematic because it contributes to higher medical costs today, and in the future because obese children and adolescents are more likely than their non-obese peers to become obese adults. The (discounted) medical costs of obesity associated with the current cohort of Maine children and adolescents—both those who obese and non-obese—will be an estimated $1.2 billion over the next twenty years. The study considers a few different outcomes that could lower the future medical costs associated with the current cohort of Maine children and adolescents as they transition into adulthood. Efforts could be aimed at reducing the incidence of childhood and adolescent obesity, or decreasing the likelihoods that children and adolescents—regardless of their current obesity status—become obese adults.

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