CDC: Skyrocketing obesity translates into enormous health costs

CDC estimates obesity-related ailments — including heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes — lead to treatment costs that are about $1,400 more each year for the average obese patient than the average patient of healthy weight. In 2008 dollars, those costs totaled $147 billion, CDC said. 

"Obesity is common, serious and costly," Bill Dietz, CDC's director of nutrition, physical activity and obesity, told reporters Tuesday. "[It] affects virtually every system in the adult body. … The challenge is: How do we begin to start driving these obesity numbers downward and start reversing this trend?"

CDC officials offered a six-step plan, including efforts to encourage more physical activity; promote prolonged breast feeding; increase fruit and vegetable consumption; discourage soft drink intake; and reduce hours spent in front of the television.

"Obesity is a societal problem," said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, "and it will take a societal response."