A lifetime of obesity for a US citizen starting at childhood costs an extra R200k ($19 000) when compared to persons of normal weight, according to researchers at the Duke Global Health Institute.

The study only measured direct medical expenses such as trips to the doctor and money spent on medication. It did not take into account indirect costs, such as an increase in absenteeism and lost productivity as adults.

If all the 10 year olds in the US remain obese throughout their lifetime, they will spend an extra $14 billion in obesity related expenses.

“For the same reasons we don’t let kids drink or smoke and force them to go to school, we should also do our best to keep them at a healthy weight,” said lead author Andrew Finkelstein.

According to the Centre for Disease Control, 1 third of all US citizens are obese. Obesity is a known as a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes type 2 and certain types of cancers.

– via Duke University Medical Center