The social costs of obesity in South Korea are estimated at KRW9.15 trillion (US$8.4 billion) a year, according to a report on the growing health issue released by an institute controlled by the National Health Insurance Service.
The 2015 figure represents a 92% hike from KRW4.76 trillion in 2006. The social costs cover medical expenses, lost income due to premature death, drop in economic productivity and other related expenses, reports the Yonhap News Agency.
Medical expenses reached KRW5.38 trillion, accounting for 58.8% of the 2015 social costs.
The study called for the government to put in place a system to manage obesity in an effective manner.
The government has vowed to stage a nationwide campaign to reduce the obesity rate by encouraging people to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the National Health Insurance Service said insurance coverage will be provided for weight loss surgery, such as lap-band, gastric bypass and other surgical treatments. The insurance coverage starts in November.