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Brookings Now

Societal cost of obesity could exceed $1.1 trillion, new Brookings research finds

Fred Dews

“The lifetime costs of obesity are sobering to say the least,” said University of California System President Janet Napolitano at an event today to discuss new research that quantifies the economic costs of obesity in the U.S. President Napolitano—former U.S. secretary of homeland security and former governor of Arizona—addressed findings from the Center on Social and Economic Dynamics at Brookings, in partnership with the World Food Center of the University of California-Davis, that estimate that if all 12.7 million U.S. youth with obesity become obese adults, the individual cost on average is just over $92,000, and “the societal costs over their lifetimes may exceed $1.1 trillion.” Watch the full event here:

Matthew Kasman, a research associate with CSDP, presented the research data and methodology. Download his presentation here, which includes this map showing how adult obesity rates in the U.S. have increased:


obesity map

A panel discussion moderated by CSDP Director Ross Hammond followed Kasman’s presentation. Panelists included: William Dietz, director of the Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness at the Milken Institute of Public Health, George Washington University; Anand Parekh, HHS deputy assistant secretary for health (science and medicine); and Justin Trogdon, associate professor at the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Learn more about the Center on Social and Economic Dynamics at Brookings.

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