Bruce Y. Lee
Adults who reduce their weight category from obese to overweight experience decreases in direct medical costs, indirect medical costs and lifetime societal costs, and cost savings are greater when adults achieve normal BMI, study data show.
“Over half the costs of being overweight can be from productivity losses, mainly due to missed workdays but also productivity losses,” Bruce Y. Lee, MD, MBA, executive director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in a press release. “This means that just focusing on medical costs misses a big part of the picture, though they’re a consideration, too. Productivity losses affect businesses, which in turn affects the economy, which then affects everyone.”
Lee and colleagues developed a computational simulation model representing U.S. adults to determine lifetime costs and health effects in adults aged 20 to 80 years with obesity, overweight or healthy weight. Data for the model were collected from the Coronary Artery Disease Risk Developing in Young Adults (CARDIA) and Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) studies.
Compared with normal-weight participants, those with obesity and overweight had increasing incremental yearly third-party payer costs with the largest values for participants with obesity. Reducing weight from obesity to overweight could avert 64% of third-party payer costs in participants aged 20 years with obesity, 61% in those aged 30 years, 57% for those aged 40 years, 51% for those aged 50 years, 40% for those aged 60 years, 26% for those aged 70 years and 21% for those aged 80 years.
Incremental indirect costs could be averted by 62% in participants aged 20 years when reducing their weight from obesity to overweight; 57% could be averted in those aged 30 years, 53% in those aged 40 years, 49% in those aged 50 years, 41% in those aged 60 years, 36% in those aged 70 years and 30% in those aged 80 years.
Reducing weight from obesity to overweight could avert 63% of incremental lifetime societal costs in participants aged 20 years, 60% in those aged 30 years, 58% in those aged 40 years, 55% in those aged 50 years, 46% in those aged 60 years, 41% in those aged 70 years and 37% in those aged 80 years.
“More research is needed to show and understand the economic value of specific obesity prevention and control measures, which can then help guide the decision making and show the value of supporting these measures,” Lee told Endocrine Today. – by Amber Cox
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Bruce Y. Lee, MD, MBA, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.