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JAMA Infographic
January 16, 2018

Medical Care Use and Expenditures Associated With Adult Obesity in the United States

Adam I. Biener, PhD; Sandra L. Decker, PhD; for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
JAMA. 2018;319(3):218. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.21063

Obesity is associated with several costly medical conditions. Based on data from 2010 through 2015, nearly half of obese adults had hypertension compared with 20% of normal-weight adults. Obese adults were 4 times as likely to have diabetes compared with normal-weight adults. From 2001 through 2015, increases in medical expenditures were greater for obese adults than for normal-weight adults. From 2010 through 2015, adults with a body mass index of 40 or higher incurred $7800 in annual medical expenditures on average, 76% more than normal-weight adults. Relative to adults with normal weight, obese adults were about twice as likely to have been prescribed a cardiovascular or gastrointestinal agent, nearly 70% more likely to have been prescribed a psychotherapeutic agent, and more than 4 times as likely to be prescribed an antidiabetic agent. Nearly 10% of obese adults were hospitalized annually resulting in 125.9 inpatient hospitalizations per 1000 people annually, compared with just 6% of normal weight-adults hospitalized, resulting in 77.9 stays per 1000 people each year. Nearly half of obese adults had at least 3 physician visits per year compared with 35.1% of normal-weight adults.

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Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Analysis of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Original data available at https://meps.ahrq.gov.