Costs rise with increasing BMI
Economic costs of obesity to self-insured employers. Durden ED, Huse D, Ben-Joseph R, Chu B-C. J Occup Environ Med. 2008. 50: 991–997.
To examine the direct and indirect economic impact of obesity in a working population.
88,984 employees from nine large US employers who completed a health risk appraisal between 2003 and 2005.
HRA data were used to classify individuals according to body mass index (BMI), and in turn BMI was compared with usage of medical resources, associated medical costs, lost work time and associated indirect costs.
- Of the study population, less than 1% were underweight (BMI <18.5 kg/m2), 34% were normal weight (18.5-25 kg/m2), 38% were overweight (25-30 kg/m2), 17% were obese (30-35 kg/m2), and 10% were severely obese (≥35 kg/m2).
- In terms of direct costs (i.e. medical claims costs and use of medical resources), the incremental cost associated with being underweight was US$409.35, for being overweight, obese and severely obese these figures were $147.11, $712.34 and $1,977.43, respectively.
- The incremental indirect costs (i.e. those associated with paid absence from work), for being overweight, obese, and severely obese were $1,403.81, $1,511.24 and $1,414.09, respectively.
What does this mean?
Obesity is associated with a considerable economic burden and reductions in the prevalence of obesity and its associated conditions (high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes) could prove beneficial to employers.