The Impact of Obesity on US Healthcare

Updated on June 22, 2022

It’s no secret that obesity is an epidemic throughout the United States, but just how bad is the problem? Well, obesity is defined via one’s Body Mass Index (BMI), which is established as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters. A healthy BMI should sit below 25 kg/m and anything greater than 30 kg/m is defined as obese. From these figures, it has been established that between 60 and 70% of adults in developed countries are overweight or obese. In fact, 34% of American adults are considered obese, whilst 15 to 20% of children and adolescents are, too. 

Such high levels of obesity stem from a flaw in the American food system, in which the average cost of a Big Mac is $3.99, whilst a salad can set you back $15. As a result, Americans fill themselves with processed foods filled with saturated fats, which only leads to cravings, meaning they require even more food to feel full. 

This is a problem that’s exclusive to developed countries, as developing countries don’t have access to enough food for obesity to be a problem. Furthermore, religious customs associated with a charitable nature, such as Qurbani rules dictate that food must be equally distributed among individuals. 

Read on to discover more about the impact of obesity on US healthcare. 

Medical Sequelae of Obesity

Obesity has a knock-on effect when it comes to the development of other health problems. For instance, obesity can affect the likes of cognitive function, the musculoskeletal system, the hepatobiliary system, the endocrine system, and the cardiovascular system. Each of these is imperative to the function of the human body and, if they fail, the effects can be detrimental. In fact, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and cost the country’s healthcare system around $4.3 billion in 2010 alone. As a result, it can’t be denied that obesity is costing the healthcare system an obscene amount of money since so many cases of heart disease in the US are a result of obesity. 

Prevention of Obesity

Due to its drain on healthcare services in the United States, there’s no denying that something needs to be done about the American obesity problem. We need to start from as early as childhood, as childhood obesity is at an all-time high. Consequently, preventative interventions must be prioritized; although this will cost the US healthcare system a significant amount of money, it’s a must more cost-effective solution when considering how much is spent on saving people from the effects of their obesity. From counseling to medication, a lot more can be done for obesity than what is currently being done. 

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Prescription Weight Loss Drugs 

Currently, there are five legitimate and safe weight loss drugs on the market that help suppress one’s appetite. Despite this, illegitimate and uncertified weight loss drugs are also being distributed by people via social media and other channels. These are nothing more than ecstasy, laxatives, or both, and shouldn’t be consumed. Safe weight loss drugs can only be prescribed by a medical professional and will only be prescribed to those who meet the criteria for such. All in all, these drugs can’t be bought from an Instagram influencer by sending them a quick DM. 


Gastric band surgery has gained prominence in the media with celebs shedding pounds almost instantly thanks to their gastric band. Despite this, many people don’t know that they have to eat well and exercise to keep their surgery in order. Filling yourself unnecessarily with meals will only reverse the surgery, which causes the healthcare system even more money. 

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.