Costs of obesity may be higher than Safefood study suggested


The real cost of obesity may be much higher than the €1.13 billion highlighted in the Safefood study published yesterday, its health and nutrition director, Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, said.

She said the estimates in The Cost of Overweight and Obesity on the Island of Ireland study conducted by UCC were “very conservative”. It found that some €398 million was spent on direct healthcare costs while €728 million was lost by absenteeism and reduced or lost productivity at work.

The figures did not include issues such as the costs associated with being overweight or obese during pregnancy, or the costs associated with the psychological and emotional issues caused by obesity.

While they included costs associated with absenteeism, they did not include the costs surrounding the loss of productivity for over-65-year-olds.

Lead researcher Dr Anne Dee said lower back pain was a major cause of absenteeism and she said approximately 40 per cent of back pain was attributed to being overweight or obese.