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October 30, 2008


DiNapoli: New York Childhood Obesity Crisis Fuels an Estimated $242 Million in Healthcare Costs

The obesity crisis in New York is affecting 1.1 million young people and costs the state $242 million in public and private medical expenses, according to a report issued today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“Childhood obesity is a health care issue, but it’s also a dollars and cents issue,” DiNapoli said. “This crisis translates into more serious health problems, and those problems lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in health care costs. And the costs grow exponentially as obese children become obese adults. Schools can play an integral part in reversing this epidemic through their physical education and nutritional programs. The classroom is a great place to start kids on the road to healthy adulthood and save taxpayers millions of dollars in the long run.”

According to the DiNapoli report, New York ranks second among U.S. states in adult obesity-related medical expenditures, with total spending estimated at nearly $6.1 billion – 81 percent of which is paid by Medicaid and Medicare, far exceeding the national average of 52 percent.

The report notes that the obesity rate among children has more than tripled over the past 30 years.

DiNapoli’s office has initiated statewide audits of school physical education programs and school lunch meal services to measure their effectiveness in improving students’ health. DiNapoli’s auditors are also reviewing whether students are benefiting from nutritional school meals as required by the State and federal education policy and regulations.


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