Past studies have shown that carrying around excess fat tissue harms you in all sorts of ways. One indirect way to measure the level of that harm is to look at medical costs - and indeed researchers have shown that lifetime medical costs increase when you are overweight, even though your life expectancy is reduced. Here is more of the same:
Health care costs increase in parallel with body mass measurements, even beginning at a recommended healthy weight. The researchers found that costs associated with medical and drug claims rose gradually with each unit increase in body mass index (BMI). Notably, these increases began above a BMI of 19, which falls in the lower range of the healthy BMI category. "Our findings suggest that excess fat is detrimental at any level."
Using health insurance claims data for 17,703 Duke employees participating in annual health appraisals from 2001 to 2011, the researchers related costs of doctors' visits and use of prescription drugs to employees' BMIs. Measuring costs related to doctors' visits and prescriptions, the researchers observed that the prevalence of obesity-related diseases increased gradually across all BMI levels. In addition to diabetes and hypertension - the two diseases most commonly associated with being overweight or obese - the rates of nearly a dozen other disease categories also grew with increases in BMI. Cardiovascular disease was associated with the largest dollar increase per unit increase in BMI.
The average annual health care costs for a person with a BMI of 19 was found to be $2,368; this grew to $4,880 for a person with a BMI of 45 or greater. Women in the study had higher overall medical costs across all BMI categories, but men saw a sharper increase in medical costs the higher their BMIs rose.