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Burden of BMI on Costs of Musculoskeletal Diseases

A cross-sectional global study shows a substantial impact of obesity and BMI on the health and economic impact of patients with musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders.

In this cross-sectional study of 192 countries and territories, 7.3 million years lived with disability and $180.7 billion total costs associated with musculoskeletal disorders were attributable to high BMI. The disease and economic burden varied by region and country.

A high high body mass index (BMI) is known to contribute to outcomes and quality of life in MSK patients, but overall health and economic consequences have not been quantified on a global scale.

MSK prevalence (LBP, gout, and osteoarthritis), years lived with disability (YLDs), health care costs, and productivity losses due to morbidity were calculated. Data from 192 countries and territories was derived from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study, World Health Organization Global Health Expenditure, World Bank, and International Labour Organization databases in 2019. 

High BMI was estimated to be responsible for: 36.3 million LBP, 16.9 million gout and 73.0 million Osteoarthritis prevalent cases; accounting for 7.3 million YLDs globally in 2019.

MSK YLDs attributable to high BMI accounted for 1.0% of all-cause YLDs in the population aged 15 to 84 years. The MSK costs attributable to high BMI reached $180.7 billion globally, including $60.5 billion in health care costs and $120.2 billion in productivity losses.

These BMI attributable health care costs were borne by the public sector (58.9%; $35.6 billion), private sector (24.0%; $14.5 billion) and by the out-of-pocket sector (17.1%; $10.3 billion).

Significant inequalities in the disease and economic burden existed across regions and countries. While most of global health care (82.4%) and morbidity-related costs (82.9%) were paid by high-income countries, 61% of global YLDs occurred in middle-income countries.

Effective policies and active participation from health professionals are needed to prevent excessive weight gain, and it's health and economic consequences.


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The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose related to this subject