Background Obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2DM) are increasing in Saudi Arabia (SA). Among other conditions, these risk factors increase the likelihood of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which in turn increases risks for advanced liver diseases, such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), cirrhosis and cancer. The goal of this study was to quantify the health and economic burden of obesity-attributable T2DM and liver disease in SA. Methods We developed a microsimulation of the SA population to quantify the future incidence and direct health care costs of obesity-attributable T2DM and liver disease, including liver cancer. Model inputs included population demographics, body mass index, incidence, mortality and direct health care costs of T2DM and liver disease and relative risks of each condition as a function of BMI category. Model outputs included age- and sex-disaggregated incidence of obesity-attributable T2DM and liver disease and their direct health care costs for SA’s working-age population (20–59 years) between 2020 and 2040. Results Between 2020 and 2040, the available data predicts 1,976,593 [± 1834] new cases of T2DM, 285,346 [±874] new cases of chronic liver diseases, and 2,101 [± 150] new cases of liver cancer attributable to obesity, amongst working-age people. By 2040, the direct health care costs of these obesity-attributable diseases are predicted to be 127,956,508,540 [± 51,882,446] USD. Conclusions The increase in obesity-associated T2DM and liver disease emphasises the urgent need for obesity interventions and strategies to meaningfully reduce the future health and economic burden of T2DM, chronic liver diseases and liver cancer in SA.
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