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Dates: October 2014 – September 2017
Funding: National Institute for Health Research
Principle Investigator: Seamus Kent

Excess weight is a common condition associated with an increased incidence of conditions including type-2 diabetes, vascular diseases, osteoarthritis, depression, and certain cancers, as well as with higher mortality. It is also associated with higher total healthcare spending, but the associations with different types of healthcare services are not well understood. In addition, most evidence comes from the US, with no reliable individual participant data pertaining directly to the UK. Given differences between countries in terms of healthcare organisation, delivery, and financing, and in population characteristics, it is important to generate evidence for different jurisdictions.

This project summarises the existing evidence on healthcare costs in relation to body mass index, and provides novel estimates for the UK. Estimates of percentage differences in annual healthcare costs for overweight and obese adults, compared to adults at healthy weight, will be estimated, overall and separately for inpatient care, ambulatory care, and medications based on a systematic review of studies using individual participant data.

Subsequently, using data on over one million middle-aged and older women in England from the Million Women Study, annual rates and costs of hospital admissions, primary care consultations, monitoring and diagnostic tests, and prescription items will be estimated in relation to body mass index, overall, and where possible, for different health conditions.

This project will provide novel estimates of healthcare use and costs in relation to body mass index for the UK, and is the largest study internationally. The results should be useful to healthcare policy makers, planners, commissioners, and providers in making investment and prioritisation decisions.


Body mass index and healthcare costs: a systematic literature review of individual participant data studies

Kent S. et al, (2017), Obesity Reviews