Economic burden of cardiovascular disease associated with excess body weight in U.S. adults

Guijing Wang, Zhi Jie Zheng, Gregory Heath, Carol Macera, Mike Pratt, David Buchner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Excess body weight (EBW), which continues to become more prevalent, is a clear contributor to cardiovascular disease (CVD), the leading cause of death and disability among U.S. adults. Information on the economic impact of CVD associated with EBW is lacking, however. Objective: To estimate the direct medical costs of CVD associated with EBW. Methods: We conducted a population-based analysis of direct medical costs by linking the 1995 National Health Interview Survey and the 1996 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. The study subjects are adults (aged ≥25 years, excluding pregnant women) in the non-institutionalized, civilian population in 1996. Results: The prevalence of CVD among people in the normal weight (body mass index [BMI] ≥18.5 to <25), overweight (BMI ≥25 to <30), and obese (BMI ≥30) groups was 20%, 28%, and 39%, respectively. There were 12.95 million CVD cases among overweight people, more than 25% of which was associated with overweight. There were 9.3 million CVD cases among obese people, of which more than 45% was associated with obesity. This extra disease burden led to $22.17 billion in direct medical costs in 1996 ($31 billion in 2001 dollars, 17% of the total direct medical cost of treating CVD). Conclusions: The strong positive association between EBW and CVD, and the significant economic impact of EBW-associated CVD demonstrate the need to prevent EBW among U.S. adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Economic burden of cardiovascular disease associated with excess body weight in U.S. adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this