PLoS ONE (Jan 2015)

Direct healthcare cost of obesity in brazil: an application of the cost-of-illness method from the perspective of the public health system in 2011.

  • Michele Lessa de Oliveira,
  • Leonor Maria Pacheco Santos,
  • Everton Nunes da Silva

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10, no. 4
p. e0121160


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Obesity is a global public health problem and a risk factor for several diseases that financially impact healthcare systems.To estimate the direct costs attributable to obesity (body mass index {BMI} ≥ 30 kg/m2) and morbid obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2) in adults aged ≥ 20 incurred by the Brazilian public health system in 2011.Public hospitals and outpatient care.A cost-of-illness method was adopted using a top-down approach based on prevalence. The proportion of the cost of each obesity-associated comorbidity was calculated and obesity prevalence was used to calculate attributable risk. Direct healthcare cost data (inpatient care, bariatric surgery, outpatient care, medications and diagnostic procedures) were extracted from the Ministry of Health information systems, available on the web.Direct costs attributable to obesity totaled US$ 269.6 million (1.86% of all expenditures on medium- and high-complexity health care). The cost of morbid obesity accounted for 23.8% (US$ 64.2 million) of all obesity-related costs despite being 18 times less prevalent than obesity. Bariatric surgery costs in Brazil totaled US$ 17.4 million in 2011. The cost of morbid obesity in women was five times higher than it was in men.The cost of morbid obesity was found to be proportionally higher than the cost of obesity. If the current epidemic were not reversed, the prevalence of obesity in Brazil will increase gradually in the coming years, as well as its costs, having serious implications for the financial sustainability of the Brazilian public health system.