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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2016 Aug;24(8):1752-8. doi: 10.1002/oby.21544. Epub 2016 Jul 6.

Early childhood obesity: Association with healthcare expenditure in Australia.

Author information

1
Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
2
The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
3
Clinical Research Centre, Sydney Local Health District, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
4
The Children's Hospital at Westmead Clinical School, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
5
Health Promotion Service, Sydney Local Health District, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether overweight or obesity among children (aged 2 to ≤5 years) is associated with direct healthcare costs, after adjusting for child, household, and socioeconomic characteristics.

METHODS:

A longitudinal cohort analysis was performed in 350 children aged 2 years assessed over 3 years of follow-up. Child weight status was determined from mean BMI z-scores at 2, 3.5, and 5 years, and healthcare utilization including medicines, nonhospital, hospital, and emergency care was determined by data linkage. Using adjusted multivariable regression analyses, the relationship between total 3-year healthcare costs and weight status was examined. Observations took place in Sydney, Australia, between 2011 and 2014.

RESULTS:

After adjustment for significant maternal and sociodemographic characteristics, healthcare costs of children with obesity (BMI z-score >2SD) were 1.62 (95% CI 1.12-2.34, P = 0.01) times those of children with healthy weight. However, costs of overweight children were similar to those of healthy weight (P = 0.96). The additional 3-year costs of healthcare for a child with obesity compared with healthy weight were $AUD 825 (95% CI $135-$2,117) for general patients and $AUD 1332 (95% CI $174-$4,280) for concession card holders.

CONCLUSIONS:

Prevention of obesity in early childhood may have concurrent benefits in reducing healthcare expenditure.

PMID:
27380909
DOI:
10.1002/oby.21544
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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