ALBANY, N.Y. -- The New York comptroller says the state is spending about $12 billion a year to deal with obesity, which is reaching "epidemic proportions" in children, affecting nearly one-third of them.
Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's report says expenditures for New York's 1.4 million overweight and obese children were $327 million in 2011, but the issue becomes more difficult as people age, as shown by an estimated $11.8 billion in state obesity health care costs that year.
DiNapoli said Wednesday parents, schools, community groups and government officials have to address the problem in children to avoid the future human and financial costs.
The 2011 estimate includes Medicaid spending more than $4.3 billion yearly on obesity-related treatment for conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Private health insurers and Medicare paid an estimated $7.5 billion.