Out-of-Pocket Expenses in Households of People Living with Obesity in France

Obes Facts. 2023;16(6):606-613. doi: 10.1159/000533342. Epub 2023 Oct 25.


Background/objectives: Overweight and obesity result in a substantial economic burden in both low- and high-income countries. Moreover, this burden is often underestimated because it only partially accounts for unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses (OOPE) related to obesity. The objective of our study was not only to evaluate OOPE incurred by people with obesity in relation to their disease with respect to direct medical expenditures and direct non-medical expenditures but also the proportion of people living with obesity who have forgone obesity-related healthcare due to the costs of such care.

Methods: An observational descriptive survey was conducted among people with class II/III obesity attending six obesity treatment centers in France. Volunteer adult participants completed a written/phone questionnaire on their related expenditures over the last 6 months for current expenditures and over the last 5 years for occasional ones. The costs were expressed in 2022 EUR.

Results: 299 people participated (age: 46 years [SD: 13.9], women: 72%, BMI ≥40 kg/m2: 62% and 48% with comorbidities). 65% had a professional activity. 83% declared that they had OOPE related to obesity representing annually EUR 2027/individual on average (5% of the household revenue), including weight loss and nutritional products, vitamins, meal programs, gym memberships, psychologists, but mainly adapted clothing, additional travel costs, and others. 15% of the respondents had to modify their professional activity due to obesity and 15% forwent some medical care in the last 12 months.

Conclusions: OOPE is a significant part of the economic burden of obesity. Despite some limitations due to the specificities of the participants and because some costs may be more related to social activities affected by obesity than to healthcare, it seems important to consider these expenditures in cost estimates for obesity.

Keywords: Economics; France; Health expenditures; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • News

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Health Expenditures* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity* / economics
  • Obesity* / epidemiology
  • Overweight / economics
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Grants and funding

This study was financed by an unrestricted grant from Novo Nordisk.