Fat People Shouldn't Be Mad at Jackson Memorial Cost

Skinny taxpayers may have beef with fat Californians

Forget the $1.4 million price tag for the Michael Jackson funeral. Fat people are costing taxpayers way more.

Obesity and physical inactivity cost Los Angeles County almost $11.8 billion in health care costs and lost production in 2006, according to a new report.

That chunk of change makes the Jackson memorial look like peanuts.

Statewide the numbers are even more shocking.

Based on the state's annual growth rate and corresponding increases in employment costs and medical expenses, weight-related problems among adult residents could subtract $52.7 billion from the state economy by 2011, according to the study.

"To put this in perspective, the economic cost to California of adults who are obese, overweight and physically inactive is equivalent to more than a third of the state's total budget," said state Controller John Chiang.

The study estimates that the statewide costs of obesity could mushroom to $53 billion by 2011.

The study analyzed data from 2006 related to heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer that result from obesity and physical inactivity, according to the authors.

Research focused on medical and prescription drug costs; insurance costs; lost productivity associated with worker absenteeism; short term disability costs; and "presenteeism," or the workload an employee is "unable to do because of their compromised health status."

The report estimated the cost of obesity in Orange County at $3.3 billion and in San Diego County at $3 billion. It found a 33 percent rise in statewide obesity rates since the last report in 2000.

The complete study is available at http://www.PublicHealthAdvocacy.org.

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