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Losing Weight At Any Age Could Lead to Money Saved

Being overweight and obese is associated with a range of health problems including diabetes, sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. A recent study suggests that losing weight at any age could lead to substantial savings in direct medical costs and productivity losses over a person’s lifetime.


For this study, researchers created a computational simulation model that was representative of the U.S. adult population. It examined the lifetime costs and health effects for people with obesity, overweight, and healthy weight statuses from age 20 to 80, in increments of 10.


The model used data from the Coronary Artery Disease Risk Development in Young Adults and Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities studies. Those studies included 15 health statuses that represented all the combinations of three BMI categories (normal weight, overweight and obesity), as well as five chronic health stages. Finally, it tracked the weight and health status of each person as they age year by year, as well as medical costs and productivity losses.


The researchers found that a 20-year-old who went from being obese to overweight would save an average of $17,655 in direct medical costs and productivity losses over their lifetime. If they went from obese to a healthy weight, they would have an average savings of $28,020 in direct medical costs and productivity losses. For a 40-year-old, going from obese to overweight could save an average of $18,262. If they went from obese to normal weight, they could have an average savings of $31,447.


The researchers found that cost savings peak at age 50 with an average cost savings of $36,278 if they lose weight. After age 50, the biggest savings were seen when someone went from obesity to normal weight.


Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health conducted the study. It was published on September 26, 2017, in the journal Obesity.


In addition to saving money, losing weight has been linked to a number of health benefits, including improving sleep quality, better mood, improved sex drive, decreased joint pain, and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

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