The true cost of obesity

The true cost of obesity

The true cost of obesity

Excess weight isn’t just about health. It can have financial and social costs, too.

The Found Team
Last updated:
December 5, 2022
5 min read
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We all know that obesity isn’t just about carrying around excess pounds. It’s a complex disease that ups the risk for health conditions like heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. And it’s more than the physical stuff. We’re talking about the additional economic, social, and emotional impacts of obesity—the things that often aren’t discussed in the larger convo about weight. And because we’re not shy, we’re just going to jump in.

How obesity affects your wallet

Research shows that Americans with obesity pay an average of $2,505 more on annual medical expenses than those without excess weight. And those costs keep climbing. In a study published in 2021, researchers found that more than $260 billion was spent on medical costs tied to obesity in 2016, while in 2001, the amount was $124 billion. That’s a lot of zeros for both.

Those added healthcare costs only increase as BMI does. Here’s the breakdown:

  • If you have a BMI of 30 to 34.9, your expenses go up an average of $1,713 annually
  • If you have a BMI of 35 to 39.9, that number rises to an additional $3,005 annually
  • If you have a BMI of 40 or higher you spend up to $5,850 more annually

Beyond medical expenses, obesity raises costs for private and public health insurance, along with things that companies charge more for just because they can. (Like buying that extra airline seat, special furniture, and even clothing.) 

Found helps people manage weight long term—which can help cut some of these costs. Found members lose, on average, 10% of their body weight by month six. We take a science-backed approach to weight care that's based on your unique biology, psychology, lifestyle, and prescription medication needs. The goal is to help you feel and be your best and, in doing so, help lessen your costs by supporting your weight care journey. 

When Stephanie Jones joined Found, her goal was changing more than just the number on the scale. She wanted to be healthier. Now, “I’m as healthy as I’ve ever been,” she says.

Jones has lost 63 pounds—and aside from her Found weight-loss medication, her success has allowed her to get off all of her other prescriptions. Goodbye to those other medication costs!

The social and emotional costs

People in communities with limited access to resources like good medical care, quality education, or grocery stores with fresh, affordable produce and nutritious foods are, understandably, more likely to have health and weight issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with a high school degree alone are likely to have higher rates of obesity than college graduates. Obesity rates are also greater among Black and Hispanic adults than non-Hispanic white and Asian Americans. Found aims to eliminate some of these obstacles by offering affordable weight care that you can access virtually.   

It’s not just disease we’re at risk for. Weight stigma can be a barrier to seeking health care, even when available. And there are other difficulties: A review of studies found that upwards of 40% of adults in the U.S. say they’ve been stigmatized because of their weight with bullying, social rejection, and blatant discrimination. The resulting stress can take a real toll on physical and emotional health. Both obesity and overweight are linked to anxiety and mood disorders, and there’s evidence that people with larger bodies can have an overall poorer quality of life than those without excess weight. And that’s where the Found community comes in. We have a supportive online group of people going through the same journey as you—who can lift you up and cheer you on. 

How Found can help

Just as medical expenses jump as BMI climbs, medical costs drop with weight loss and a lower BMI. In a 2021 analysis of data from almost 21,000 respondents who lost enough weight to move from obese to overweight, annual healthcare spending was reduced by 20%.

Point being: We’re not just talking about a number on the scale, but an investment in your health and your future.

Here at Found, we know obesity is a disease, not a decision. It’s not a simple matter of eating less and moving more. Many factors—environmental, genetic, hormonal, and behavioral— play a role. And while research shows that lifestyle changes (including quality sleep, physical activity, and stress management) work, one of the most effective ways to treat obesity may be a combination of medical treatment and social support. 

Our comprehensive approach combines behavior change, social support, technology, and medication to break the cooker-cutter approach to weight care and help you find success. Found member Kristen says, “If you were to ask me what I have found through this program, I think that I found success for the very first time with my battle with weight loss. The changes I am making are lifetime changes.” 

Found has board-certified providers who can evaluate your needs and prescribe weight loss medication if it’s right for you. You'll also have one-on-one access to a health coach the first month you're with Found, plus a supportive online community and an in-app lifestyle change program to help you succeed long-term. Take our three-minute quiz today, and you’ll see why hundreds of thousands of members believe in Found.  

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Published date:
December 5, 2022
Meet the author
The Found Team
The Found Team

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