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Author Notes:

Julie A. Gazmararian: Email: jagazma@emory.edu

The contents of the paper are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC.

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this paper.


Research Funding:

This paper was supported by CDC-R01 DP000107-03 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This research was partially supported by the Emory Global Health Institute through a Faculty Distinction Fund Award to Dr. Frisvold.

Obesity Is Associated with an Increase in Pharmaceutical Expenses among University Employees


Journal Title:

Journal of Obesity


Volume 2015, Number 298698


Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Objective. To examine costs associated with obesity in an employee population and factors associated with increased costs. Methods. We used data from the Physical Activity and Life Style (PALS) study, a randomized prospective design evaluating three interventions to increase physical activity among physically inactive nonfaculty university employees (). The primary exposure variable, obesity (measured by body mass index), was obtained from the in-person baseline survey. Covariates were obtained from the baseline survey and included demographic characteristics and health status. Data from the baseline survey was linked with administrative data to determine pharmaceutical, inpatient, outpatient, and total health care costs for three years. Average monthly expenditures for obese and nonobese individuals were compared using t-tests and a two-part multivariate regression model adjusted for demographic and socioeconomic characteristics and health behaviors. Results. Although in-patient and outpatient expenses were not associated with obesity, pharmaceutical expenditures were $408 or 87.2% higher per year ($468 versus $876) for obese individuals than for nonobese individuals, which reflected poorer health behaviors and health status of obese adults. Conclusion. Awareness of the costs associated with obesity among employees can stimulate employers to make the investment in providing employer-sponsored wellness and health improvement programs to address obesity.

Copyright information:

© 2015 Julie A. Gazmararian et al.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits making multiple copies, distribution, public display, and publicly performance, distribution of derivative works, provided the original work is properly cited. This license requires copyright and license notices be kept intact, credit be given to copyright holder and/or author.

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