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What is the Economic Cost of Overweight Children?


  • Eric Johnson

    (Kent State University)

  • Melayne Morgan McInnes

    () (University of South Carolina)

  • Judith A. Shinogle

    (RTI International)


Childhood overweight is now considered the most common health problem for children in the U.S. An important question is whether parents and policymakers will see rising medical expenditures for these children while they are still young. We estimate the overweight attributable fraction (OAF) of children’s medical expenditures, controlling for other factors that may cause expenditures to differ. We find that medical expenditures for overweight children are on average $12.09 higher per year (OAF = 0.5 percent), but confidence intervals are large and include zero. We also find little difference in the types of principal diagnoses per visit reported by weight status.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric Johnson & Melayne Morgan McInnes & Judith A. Shinogle, 2006. "What is the Economic Cost of Overweight Children?," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 171-187, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:32:y:2006:i:1:p:171-187

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    1. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2002:92:6:984-989_8 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2004. "An economic analysis of adult obesity: results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 565-587, May.
    3. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
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    Cited by:

    1. Cawley, John & Liu, Feng, 2012. "Maternal employment and childhood obesity: A search for mechanisms in time use data," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 352-364.
    2. Kinge, Jonas Minet & Morris, Stephan, 2015. "The impact of childhood obesity on health and health service use: an instrumental variable approach," HERO On line Working Paper Series 2015:2, Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme.
    3. John Cawley & Chad Meyerhoefer & David Newhouse, 2007. "The Correlation Of Youth Physical Activity With State Policies," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(4), pages 506-517, October.
    4. Davene Wright & Lisa Prosser, 2014. "The Impact of Overweight and Obesity on Pediatric Medical Expenditures," Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 139-150, April.
    5. Christina Wenig, 2012. "The impact of BMI on direct costs in Children and Adolescents: empirical findings for the German Healthcare System based on the KiGGS-study," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 13(1), pages 39-50, February.
    6. Cawley, John, 2008. "Contingent valuation analysis of willingness to pay to reduce childhood obesity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 281-292, July.
    7. Breitfelder, Ariane & Wenig, Christina M. & Wolfenstetter, Silke B. & Rzehak, Peter & Menn, Petra & John, Jürgen & Leidl, Reiner & Bauer, Carl Peter & Koletzko, Sibylle & Röder, Stefan & Herbarth, Olf, 2011. "Relative weight-related costs of healthcare use by children--Results from the two German birth cohorts, GINI-plus and LISA-plus," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 302-315, July.
    8. Monheit, Alan C. & Vistnes, Jessica P. & Rogowski, Jeannette A., 2009. "Overweight in adolescents: Implications for health expenditures," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 55-63, March.

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