The $4 billion strain put on our health system
OBESE and overweight Australians over the age of 45 are using one in six hospital beds and costing the health sector an extra $4 billion a year.
That was the finding of a joint study by the University of Western Sydney, University of Sydney and the Sax Institute.
The researchers looked at 200,000 hospital records of people aged 45-79 to show just what impact obesity had on hospital costs.
People in the extremely obese weight range had more than double the rate of admissions and days in hospital compared with those of a normal weight.
Even the gear required to cater for overweight patients takes a heavy toll.
Equipment such as hoists, shower chairs and lifters are usually three to four times more expensive than regular equipment.
In 2011-12 there were more than 56,000 public hospital beds in Australia.
One estimate from the Sax Institute put the cost of obesity on hospitals at $4 billion a year, with one in every six dollars spent on hospitalisation going towards the extra cost of catering for the overweight.