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Report: Hoosier obesity costs state $2 billion annually

A subject's waist is measured Jan. 20, 2010, during an obesity prevention study in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A new report, Obesity’s Impact on Indiana’s Economy and Labor Force, was released this month by GlobalData and found that obesity reduces economic activity in Indiana by $9.3 billion and leads to a 2% reduction in the state’s gross domestic product.

About one-third of Hoosier adults are considered obese, and another third are overweight.

The report shows that the obesity of Indiana employers and state policymakers results in an over $2 billion impact when factoring in higher healthcare costs, absenteeism, and disability costs to employers.

Reduced workforce participation rates continue to be a problem in Indiana and obesity impacts that as well. Nearly 70,000 fewer obese adults are currently part of the workforce, GlobalData’s research shows.

Obesity also has a nearly $1 billion negative impact on the state’s budget, including increased Medicaid and public health costs.

“State policymakers and employers play a crucial role in addressing obesity by implementing effective policies and programs that prioritize access to evidence-based treatment plans and resources. Taking a comprehensive approach to obesity prevention and treatment is key to improving population health and reducing healthcare costs linked to obesity-related conditions.

By working together, these stakeholders can make a significant impact in addressing the obesity epidemic and fostering a healthier future for their communities and the state’s workforce.”

The report suggests that if adults under 65 lose 5%-25% of their body weight over a 10-year span, it has the potential to save $8 billion in related medical costs.