The economic burden of obesity in Italy: a cost-of-illness study

Margherita d'Errico*, Milena Pavlova, Federico Spandonaro

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Background Obesity is a complex health disorder that significantly increases the risk of several chronic diseases, and it has been associated with a 5-20-year decrease in life expectancy. The prevalence of obesity is increasing steadily worldwide and Italy follows this trend with an increase of almost 30% in the adult obese population in the last 3 decades. Previous studies estimated that 2-4% of the total health expenditure in Europe is attributed to obesity and it is projected to double by 2050. Currently, there is a lack of sufficient knowledge on the burden of obesity in Italy and most relevant estimates are derived from international studies. The aim of this study is to estimate the direct and indirect costs of obesity in Italy, taking 2020 as the reference year. Methods Based on data collected from the literature, a quantitative cost-of-illness (COI) study was performed from a societal perspective focussing on the adult obese population (Body Mass Index (BMI) >= 30 kg/m(2)) in Italy. Results The study indicated that the total costs attributable to obesity in Italy amounted to euro13.34 billion in 2020 (95% credible interval: euro8.99 billion < mu < euro17.80 billion). Direct costs were euro7.89 billion, with cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) having the highest impact on costs (euro6.66 billion), followed by diabetes (euro0.65 billion), cancer (euro0.33 billion), and bariatric surgery (euro0.24 billion). Indirect costs amounted to euro5.45 billion, with almost equal contribution of absenteeism (euro2.62 billion) and presenteeism (euro2.83 billion). Conclusions Obesity is associated with high direct and indirect costs, and cost-effective prevention programmes are deemed fundamental to contain this public health threat in Italy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-192
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Health Economics
Volume23
Issue number2
Early online date4 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Keywords

  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular diseases (CVD)
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Cost analysis
  • Cost-of-illness (COI)
  • SELF-REPORTED WEIGHT
  • HEALTH-CARE
  • CARDIOVASCULAR RISK
  • ATRIAL-FIBRILLATION
  • BARIATRIC SURGERY
  • OVERWEIGHT
  • CANCER
  • PREVALENCE
  • DEPRESSION
  • VALIDITY

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