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Almost 10 Percent of U.S. Medical Costs Tied to Obesity
Date:7/27/2009

ar, but among those who are obese the cost rises to about $1,300 a year, an 80 percent increase, he said.

"For Medicare, the costs of obesity are about 72 percent greater just for prescription drugs," Finkelstein said. An obese person on Medicare is going to pay $1,400 in drug costs more a year than a normal-weight person, he said.

"Today's report demonstrating the clear link between rising rates of obesity and increasing medical costs is alarming, but not unexpected," Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said in a statement. "Obesity is the driver of so many chronic conditions -- heart disease, diabetes, cancer -- that generate the exorbitant costs that are crushing our health-care system," she said.

"The only way to show real savings in health expenditures in the future is through efforts to reduce the prevalence of obesity and related health conditions," Finkelstein said.

Hoping to turn the tide of the obesity epidemic, the CDC is taking several steps it hopes will alert people to the problem and get Americans to make the changes need to reduce obesity.

Among the strategies the CDC is promoting are making healthy food more available, promoting more choices of healthy foods, promoting breast-feeding, encouraging physical activity and creating sites in communities that support physical activity, Dr. William H. Dietz, director of CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, said during the press conference.

"These recommendations, I believe, set the foundation for the community interventions necessary to reverse this problem in the United States," Dietz said.

One of the biggest problems facing Americans is soaring consumption of soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks, which add almost 150 calories to the daily diet, Frieden said.

Frieden believes that taxing sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks will help cut down on consumption an
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