The Additional Costs and Health Effects of a Patient Having Overweight or Obesity: A Computational Model

Saeideh Fallah-Fini, Atif Adam, Lawrence J. Cheskin, Sarah M. Bartsch, Bruce Y. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective: This paper estimates specific additional disease outcomes and costs that could be prevented by helping a patient go from an obesity or overweight category to a normal weight category at different ages. This information could help physicians, other health care workers, patients, and third-party payers determine how to prioritize weight reduction. Methods: A computational Markov model was developed that represented the BMI status, chronic health states, health outcomes, and associated costs (from various perspectives) for an adult at different age points throughout his or her lifetime. Results: Incremental costs were calculated for adult patients with obesity or overweight (vs. normal weight) at different starting ages. For example, for a metabolically healthy 20-year-old, having obesity (vs. normal weight) added lifetime third-party payer costs averaging $14,059 (95% range: $13,956-$14,163), productivity losses of $14,141 ($13,969-$14,312), and total societal costs of $28,020 ($27,751-$28,289); having overweight vs. normal weight added $5,055 ($4,967-$5,144), $5,358 ($5,199-$5,518), and $10,365 ($10,140-$10,590). For a metabolically healthy 50-year-old, having obesity added $15,925 ($15,831-$16,020), $20,120 ($19,887-$20,352), and $36,278 ($35,977-$36,579); having overweight added $5,866 ($5,779-$5,953), $10,205 ($9,980-$10,429), and $16,169 ($15,899-$16,438). Conclusions: Incremental lifetime costs of a patient with obesity or overweight (vs. normal weight) increased with the patient's age, peaked at age 50, and decreased with older ages. However, weight reduction even in older adults still yielded incremental cost savings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1809-1815
Number of pages7
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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