Obesity and overweight in Canada: An updated cost-of-illness study

Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences, St Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6Z 1Y6.
Obesity Reviews (Impact Factor: 8). 05/2009; 11(1):31-40. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2009.00579.x
Source: PubMed


This study is to update the estimates of the economic burden of illness because of overweight and obesity in Canada by incorporating the increase in prevalence of overweight and obesity, findings of new related comorbidities and rise in the national healthcare expenditure. The burden was estimated from a societal perspective using the prevalence-based cost-of-illness methodology. Results from a literature review of the risks of 18 related comorbidities were combined with prevalence of overweight and obesity in Canada to estimate the extent to which each comorbidity is attributable to overweight and obesity. The direct costs were extracted from the National Health Expenditure Database and allocated to each comorbidity using weights principally from the Economic Burden of Illness in Canada. The study showed that the total direct costs attributable to overweight and obesity in Canada were $6.0 billion in 2006, with 66% attributable to obesity. This corresponds to 4.1% of the total health expenditures in Canada in 2006. The inclusion of newly identified comorbidities increased the direct cost estimates of obesity by 25%, while the rise in national healthcare expenditure accounted for a 19% increase. Policies to reduce being overweight and obese could potentially save the Canadian healthcare system millions of dollars.

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    • "Projection of health care cost savings by reduction in the prevalence of overweight and obesity was estimated by multiplying the total direct health care cost for obesity by the proportion of overweight and obese cases prevented by the intervention. An updated estimation by Anis et al showed that the annual direct health care cost of overweight and obesity in Canada was $ 6 billion in 2006 [16]. We assumed that this cost remained unchanged overtime and for every overweight and obese case that we prevented, we avoided the costs for health conditions related to obesity. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The Alberta Project Promoting active Living and healthy Eating in Schools (APPLE Schools) is a comprehensive school health program that is proven feasible and effective in preventing obesity among school aged children. To support decision making on expanding this program, evidence on its long-term health and economic impacts is particularly critical. In the present study we estimate the life course impact of the APPLE Schools programs in terms of future body weights and avoided health care costs. Method We modeled growth rates of body mass index (BMI) using longitudinal data from the National Population Health Survey collected between 1996–2008. These growth rate characteristics were used to project BMI trajectories for students that attended APPLE Schools and for students who attended control schools (141 randomly selected schools) in the Canadian province of Alberta. Results Throughout the life course, the prevalence of overweight (including obesity) was 1.2% to 2.8% (1.7 on average) less among students attending APPLE Schools relative to their peers attending control schools. The life course prevalence of obesity was 0.4% to 1.4% (0.8% on average) less among APPLE Schools students. If the APPLE Schools program were to be scaled up, the potential cost savings would be $33 to 82 million per year for the province of Alberta, or $150 to 330 million per year for Canada. Conclusions These projected health and economic benefits seem to support broader implementation of school-based health promotion programs.
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