This study was conducted to estimate the socioeconomic costs of overweight and obesity in a sample of Korean adults aged 20 yr and older in 2005. The socioeconomic costs of overweight and obesity include direct costs (inpatient care, outpatient care and medication) and indirect costs (loss of productivity due to premature deaths and inpatient care, time costs, traffic costs and nursing fees). Hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, ischemic heart disease, stroke, colon cancer and osteoarthritis were selected as obesity-related diseases. The population attributable fraction (PAF) of obesity was calculated from national representative data of Korea such as the National Health Insurance Corporation (NHIC) cohort data and the 2005 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) data. Direct costs of overweight and obesity were estimated at approximately U$1,081 million equivalent (men: U$497 million, women: U$584 million) and indirect costs were estimated at approximately U$706 million (men: U$527 million, women: U$178 million). The estimated total socioeconomic costs of overweight and obesity were approximately U$1,787 million (men: U$1,081 million, women: U$706 million). These total costs represented about 0.22% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and 3.7% of the national health care expenditures in 2005. We found the socioeconomic costs of overweight and obesity in Korean adults aged 20 yr and older are substantial. In order to control the socioeconomic burden attributable to overweight and obesity, effective national strategies for prevention and management of obesity should be established and implemented.
Keywords: Direct costs; Indirect costs; Obesity; Overweight; Socioeconomic costs.