In 2009, there were about 38,000 hospital stays with a diagnosis of obesity for children ages 1 to 17 years in the United States, comprising 2.1 percent of all hospitalizations among this age group. From 2000 to 2009, the rate of hospitalizations with obesity more than doubled (from 2.4 to 5.4 stays per 10,000 children). In contrast, the rate of hospital stays without any mention of obesity remained relatively stable. Hospitalizations with a diagnosis of obesity have a longer average length of stay and higher mean costs per stay. This new report from AHRQ repots a sizable growth in the costs of obesity. In 2000, the average cost of an obesity-related hospital stay was 20 percent higher than a stay with no mention of obesity ($7,200 versus $6,000). But, in 2009, the average cost of an obesity-related hospital stay was 24 percent higher than a stay without obesity ($9,900 versus $8,000). From 2000 to 2009, the rate of stays with obesity on the record more than doubled among children age 5—9 years (up 124 percent), 10—14 years (up 114 percent), and 15—17 years (up 139 percent). During this same period, the rate of stays with obesity increased in all four regions, more than doubling in the Midwest, Northeast, and West.
For both obesity-related and non-obesity related hospitalizations for children there was a marked drop in coverage by private insurance and an increase in coverage by Medicaid from 2000 to 2009.
The principal diagnoses, for which obesity was the secondary diagnosis, were mood disorders, asthma, appendicitis, pneumonia, skin infections, biliary tract disease, diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, attention-deficit, conduct, and disruptive behavior disorders. Report is based on H-CUP databases, sponsored by AHRQ. See AHRQ: Hospitalizations and Obesity Children SB 138