Objective: We aimed to quantify the extent to which socioeconomic differences in body mass index (BMI) drive avoidable deaths, incident disease cases and healthcare costs. Methods: We used population attributable fractions to quantify the annual burden of disease attributable to socioeconomic differences in BMI for Australian adults aged 20 to <85 years in 2016, stratified by quintiles of an area-level indicator of socioeconomic disadvantage (SocioEconomic Index For Areas Indicator of Relative Socioeconomic Disadvantage; SEIFA) and BMI (normal weight, overweight, obese). We estimated direct healthcare costs using annual estimates per person per BMI category. Results: We attributed $AU1.06 billion in direct healthcare costs to socioeconomic differences in BMI in 2016. The greatest number (proportion) of cases and deaths attributable to socioeconomic differences in BMI was observed for type 2 diabetes among women (8,602 total cases [16%], with 3,471 cases [22%] in the most disadvantaged quintile [SEIFA 1]) and all-cause mortality among men (2027 total deaths [4%], with 815 deaths [6%] in SEIFA 1). Conclusions: Socioeconomic differences in BMI substantially contribute to avoidable deaths, disease cases and direct healthcare costs in Australia. Implications for public health: Population-level policies to reduce socioeconomic differences in overweight and obesity must be identified and implemented.

Additional Metadata
Keywords body mass index, costs and cost analysis, epidemiological monitoring, epidemiology, obesity, socioeconomic factors
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1111/1753-6405.12970, hdl.handle.net/1765/125697
Journal Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Citation
Gearon, E. (Emma), Backholer, K, Lal, A, Nusselder, W.J, & Peeters, A. (2020). The case for action on socioeconomic differences in overweight and obesity among Australian adults: modelling the disease burden and healthcare costs. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. doi:10.1111/1753-6405.12970