Economic burden of obesity-related chronic diseases in Mainland China
Zhao W, Zhai Y, Hu J, Wang J, Yang Z, Kong L, Chen C
The objectives of the present study are: (i) to estimate annual direct medical costs of chronic diseases attributable to overweight and obesity among adults in China and (ii) to predict the medical costs if the epidemic continues developing. Using 2002 National Nutrition and Health Survey (n = 39 834), the prevalence of overweight [24 ≥ body mass index (BMI) < 28] and obesity (BMI ≥ 28), and population attributable risks (PARs) for hypertension, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke were calculated. The 2003 third National Health Services Survey (n = 143 521) was used to derive direct medical costs including costs for outpatient visits, physician services, inpatient stays, rehabilitation services, nursing fees and medications. The medical costs attributable to overweight and obesity were estimated by multiplying the disease costs by PAR for each disease. The total medical cost attributable to overweight and obesity was estimated at 21.11 billion Yuan (RMB) (∼$2.74 billion) accounting for 25.5% of the total medical costs for the four chronic diseases, or 3.7% of national total medical costs in 2003. The medical cost associated with overweight and obesity could increase to 37 billion Yuan (RMB) (∼$4.8 billion), a 75% increase, if the epidemic developed speedily and the ratio of overweight to obesity approached 1.1:1. The high economic burden of overweight and obesity suggests an urgent need to develop effective interventions for controlling the obesity epidemic and consequently the prevention of chronic diseases.
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