Objectives: This study estimated the lifetime health and economic benefits of sustained modest weight loss among obese persons.
Methods: We developed a dynamic model of the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and the risks and costs of 5 obesity-related diseases: hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease (CHD), and stroke. We then calculated the lifetime health and economic benefits of a sustained 10% reduction in body weight for men and women aged 35 to 64 years with mild, moderate, and severe obesity.
Results: Depending on age, gender, and initial BMI, a sustained 10% weight loss would (1) reduce the expected number of years of life with hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and type 2 diabetes by 1.2 to 2.9, 0.3 to 0.8, and 0.5 to 1.7, respectively; (2) reduce the expected lifetime incidence of CHD and stroke by 12 to 38 cases per 1000 and 1 to 13 cases per 1000, respectively; (3) increase life expectancy by 2 to 7 months; and (4) reduce expected lifetime medical care costs of these 5 diseases by $2200 to $5300.
Conclusions: Sustained modest weight loss among obese persons would yield substantial health and economic benefits.