New York's obesity problem is costing the Empire State a lot more than chump change, according to Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Well, unless you consider $11.8 billion in 2011 chump change. And it all starts with the tubby young 'uns. "Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions, affecting one third of New York’s kids," DiNapoli announced yesterday before breaking down some numbers.
According to DiNapoli we spent $327 million on the state's 1.4 million overweight and obese kids last year—which admittedly isn't that much. The problems start to add up, however, when those kids get older and stay fat. Those people's problems cost the state an estimated $11.8 billion in health care costs.
The problem is "taking a toll on their health and on the state’s bottom-line," DiNapoli said while releasing his latest report [PDF]. "We cannot afford to ignore this problem, and literally, let it grow. Parents, schools, community based organizations and government officials at all levels must work together to address childhood obesity if we are to reduce the human and fiscal costs for New York."
In other words: if we are going to get thin again, we're going to have to work together. Otherwise, this problem isn't going away and it is going to cost bank.