Skip Navigation U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Agency for Healthcare Research Quality
Archive print banner

Agency News and Notes

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to for current information.

Hospitalization of obese patients more than doubles

Hospital stays of obese patients increased by 112 percent between 1996 and 2004, rising from 797,000 to 1.7 million, according to a new report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The Federal study looked at the hospital stays of patients who were admitted for their obesity and the stays of obese patients hospitalized for other diseases. The findings relating to patients admitted to the hospital for treatment of obesity include the following:

These patients had 126,000 hospital stays and most were admitted for gastric bypass or other weight loss surgery, and more than half were 18 to 44 years old. The remaining patients were primarily ages 45 to 64. Women accounted for about 82 percent of all patients admitted for treatment of their obesity.

Almost all the patients hospitalized for treatment of obesity were morbidly obese, meaning they weighed at least two times more than their ideal weight. Hospital costs for patients admitted for obesity treatment were an average of $11,700 per stay.

Obese patients who were admitted to the hospital for other treatments accounted for the 1.6 million other hospital stays. The greatest proportion — 7 percent — were hospitalized for hardening of the arteries. Other leading conditions included congestive heart failure, osteoarthritis, skin infections, depression, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. Obese patients had higher rates of these conditions than non-obese patients.

Nearly three-quarters of patients admitted for other treatments were over 45 years of age, 64 percent were women, and about one-third were morbidly obese. Treating these patients cost hospitals an average of $8,800 per stay.

For more information, see Obese Patients in U.S. Hospitals, 2004, HCUP Statistical Brief #20 at

Return to Contents
Proceed to Next Article

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care