Women face higher costs for being obese

By Megg Mueller on November 1st, 2010

In the never-ending battle of the sexes, another point has been scored by men. This time around, a new study shows that women who are obese pay an annual average of about $4,879, for costs associated with the extra weight, while similarly husky men have an annual extra cost of only $2,646.

In a recent report, "A Heavy Burden: The Individual Cost of Being Overweight and Obese in the United States," researchers from George Washington University School of Public Health found that, in almost all aspects from increased medical costs like health insurance to how much gas overweight women use in their cars, obese women pay more per year just to live than obese men.

If that's not reason enough to hit the gym, consider this well-known fact: women, whether overweight or not, pay higher premiums for health insurance, sometimes as much as 50 percent more, according to the National Women's Law Center. A study by the center notes that the high price of health care for women can be noted in the individual health insurance market, where there are few federal or state protections to standardize health care premiums. With new health care regulations, in 2014 pregnancy and new born care will be covered under all new individual, health insurance exchange and small business plans. Also, refusing coverage due to pre-existing conditions will no longer be allowed, but it's not certain whether obesity will be covered under that clause.

Regardless, the battle still rages on over gender ratings for health insurance, as people who choose not to have children balk at having to share the cost of maternity coverage. However, through insurance coverage, women share the cost of things like prostate screenings and erectile dysfunction medication. While it's true that neither of these health care expenses cost nearly as much as a pregnancy does, the last time I checked, women weren't having children in a vacuum--they had a little help along the way.

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