If childhood obesity remains unchecked in Maine, it’s expected to cost the state roughly $1.2 billion in medical costs over the next 20 years, according to a new study.
Currently, 7.8 percent of Maine children and adolescents are obese, according to data from schools in the state and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Already, the annual medical costs of obesity in the state are an estimated $452.7 million (for children and adults combined), according to the study. Considering the growing body of research that’s linked obesity in childhood with higher chances of obesity in adulthood, childhood obesity is “particularly problematic” because it contributes to medical costs today and in the future, wrote Todd Gabe, a professor of economics at the University of Maine.
According to the report’s estimates, the medical costs of obesity for the current group of Maine children will be an estimated $1.2 billion over the next 20 years.
A version of this article appeared in the November 15, 2012 edition of Education Week as Child Obesity in Maine Judged Costly Problem