New York’s growing obesity problem costs nearly $12 billion a year, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a report today.
Obesity-related expenses for the state’s 1.4 million overweight and obese children cost the state about $327 million in 2011. But those costs grow as teenagers become adults, leading to the $11.8 billion overall costs in 2011, DiNapoli said.
“Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions, affecting one third of New York’s kids,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “It’s taking a toll on their health and on the state’s bottom-line. We cannot afford to ignore this problem, and literally, let it grow.”
DiNapoli’s report said the state’s Medicaid program spends more than $4.3 billion a year to treat obesity-related illnesses, while private insurers and Medicare spent an additional $7.5 billion.
DiNapoli cited state Health Department statistics that showed 17 percent of students were obese between 2008 to 2010; another 15 percent were overweight.