The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
May 8, 2008
A report from the nonprofit business research group the Conference Board suggests that obesity is costing U.S. businesses $45 billion annually in medical expenses and lost productivity, CQ HealthBeat reports. According to the report, U.S. obesity rates have doubled in the last three decades, rising from roughly 15 percent of American adults in 1980 to 34 percent this year. In addition, obesity is associated with a 36 percent increase in health care spending, outpacing both smoking and alcohol problems. In an effort to address the mounting obesity crisis, more than 40 percent of U.S. businesses have implemented wellness programs and an additional 24 percent plan to launch similar programs in 2008.