By Dr. Brian McDonough

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — We are a nation fighting an obesity epidemic with numbers skyrocketing.

There is an individual price to pay but also a price for society.

A recent study from DePaul University looked at the costs of obesity and found that the mean total annual healthcare-related costs, including medications, inpatient care, and ambulatory care, were higher among overweight and obese individuals.

They say when compared to normal weight individuals, the costs were about 36% higher.

When they broke it down, the highest annual costs were reported for medications – 18% increase for people in the overweight range and 68% for people in the obese range.

Hospitalizations were also found to be increased as well.

The message seems to be clear that lifestyle changes, as well as dieting and exercise are critical tools to prevent obesity and the lifelong issues, but could also save your wallet.

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