A newly released report authored by Susan Combs, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, details the financial impact of obesity on the Texas state economy. As an example, increases in health insurance expenditures due to obesity adversely affect the ability of businesses to keep up with rising costs. This report is an update to the Comptroller’s 2007 report Counting Costs and Calories: Measuring the cost of Obesity to Texas Employers. As a state, Texas has a significantly higher rate of obesity than the national average. The report notes that, “20.4 percent of Texas children aged 10-17 are obese, compared to 16.4 percent of U.S. children.” Texas, however, has taken a national lead in setting nutritional standards for school lunches. One of the many recommendations of the report focused on children is to “Encourage schools to make facilities available before and after school for use by the school community and community-based organizations for intramural physical activity programs.”
Some additional report findings:
- 66.7 percent of adult Texans are overweight or obese, up from 64.1 percent in 2005.
- Left unchecked, obesity could cost employers $32.5 billion annually by 2030.
- Obesity-related costs also contribute to rising health care and insurance costs that have forced some Texas employers to reduce insurance coverage.
- Obesity has risen even faster in children than adults.
- Obesity rates have risen for all age groups, but the older you are; the more likely you are to be obese.
- Type 2 diabetes is the chronic disease most commonly associated with obesity. Studies indicate that 27 percent of all cases of type 2 diabetes can be attributed to a weight gain of 11 or more pounds after the age of 18.