Gender and the burden of disease attributable to obesity

Am J Public Health. 2006 Sep;96(9):1662-8. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2005.068874. Epub 2006 Jul 27.


Objectives: We estimated the burden of disease in the United States attributable to obesity by gender, with life expectancy, quality-adjusted life expectancy, years of life lost annually, and quality-adjusted life years lost annually as outcome measures.

Methods: We obtained burden of disease estimates for adults falling into the following body-mass index categories: normal weight (23 to <25), overweight (25 to <30), and obese (> or = 30). We analyzed the 2000 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to obtain health-related quality-of-life scores and the 1990-1992 National Health Interview Survey linked to National Death Index data through the end of 1995 for mortality.

Results: Overweight men and women lost 270,000 and 1.8 million quality-adjusted life years, respectively, relative to their normal-weight counterparts. Obese men and women lost 1.9 million and 3.4 million quality-adjusted life years, respectively, per year. Much of the burden of disease among overweight and obese women arose from lower health-related quality of life and late life mortality.

Conclusions: Relative to men, women suffer a disproportionate burden of disease attributable to overweight and obesity, mostly because of differences in health-related quality of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Female
  • Health Expenditures / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / economics*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Sex Factors