Nashville, Tenn. - Obesity as a major cause of death in the U.S. may still be in dispute, but one thing is certain: It costs American employers millions of dollars each year in higher employee health costs.In the wake of recent studies disputing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's earlier finding that obesity causes 400,000 deaths a year, a new study published in the March Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine finds obesity is responsible for 2.1% of all diagnosed medical claims dollars for men and 2.8% for women. Of ten lifestyle health risks considered, obesity was by far the most costly--accounting for approximately 14% of lifestyle-related health costs for men and 25% for women.

The study was undertaken by three researchers from Gordian Health Solutions,Inc., a national provider of population health management services headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. Authors D. Adam Long, Roger Reed and Gregg Lehman used Gordian's proprietary retrospective claims analysis (RCA) process to estimate obesity costs.

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