The impact of morbid obesity on the state economy: an initial evaluation

Eldo E. Frezza, Mitchell S. Wachtel, Bradley T. Ewing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: Obesity's impact on a state's economy has not been fully analyzed. This study compared bariatric surgery demographics at a large university hospital to that of a broader region's population statistics. From this comparison, an economic model was derived that evaluated, for the state of New Mexico, the cost of obesity in terms of lost business output, employment, and income. Methods: Between September 2003 and September 2005, we analyzed the charts of all of our patients from New Mexico who underwent laparoscopic gastric bypass and laparoscopic banding. Input-output analysis estimate margins, the purchase prices for goods and services, and regional purchase coefficients, the percent of spending by local suppliers, were used to model the regional economy. Collected patient data, used in conjunction with IMPLAN model data, were used to estimate, on a regional basis, an industry-by-industry formulation of input-output accounts to calculate multipliers in order to assess the impact of economic costs of the obese on the general economy. Results: Total labor income impacts are nearly $200 million, $1,660 of output income per household and $245 of labor income per household. Obesity cost New Mexico more than 7,300 jobs and cut state and local tax revenues by more than $48 million. Conclusion: Obesity's impact of more than $1.3 billion amounts to 2.5% of New Mexico's gross state product. Governmental measures to combat this menace are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-508
Number of pages5
JournalSurgery for Obesity and Related Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Days lost
  • Financial loss
  • IMPLAN model
  • Job loss
  • Obesity
  • Societal lost wages
  • State economy


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