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Health and economic consequences of projected obesity trends in Malta

By Daniel Cauchi, Laura Webber, Cecile Knai, Dorothy Gauci, Zaid Chalabi and Neville Calleja


Background: Globally, there is increasing concern about the potential health and economic consequences of current obesity trends. This study assessed the impact of unchecked obesity and the benefits of reducing population weight levels in Malta. Methods: Body mass index rates, disease burden and direct health care costs for breast and colon cancer, coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and stroke in Malta were projected to 2035 using a two-stage microsimulation model. Two scenarios were modelled for population weight reduction. Research: By 2035, uncontrolled overweight and obesity are projected to result in a 62% increase in stroke prevalence, a 27% increase in obesity-related cancers and a 16% increase in prevalence of hypertension. The prevalence of coronary heart disease developing as a consequence of obesity is expected to double within the next two decades. Associated cumulative direct health care costs will amount to around €814 million by 2035. However, a 5% reduction in the average population body mass index by 2035 is projected to result in a saving of €141 million in health expenditure on obesity-related conditions over the intervening 20 years. Conclusion: These findings have important implications for obesity policy in Malta and other European nations with similar health systems and levels of population obesity, thus highlighting the need for effective population-level preventive strategies.peer-reviewe

Topics: Overweight persons -- Malta, Obesity -- Malta, Obesity -- Complications -- Malta, Obesity -- Economic aspects -- Malta
Publisher: 'World Health Organization, Western Pacific Regional Office'
Year: 2017
OAI identifier:
Provided by: OAR@UM

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