The European Journal of Health Economics

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 345–352 | Cite as

Health burden and costs of obesity and overweight in Germany

  • A. KonnopkaEmail author
  • M. Bödemann
  • H.-H. König
Original Paper


This study aimed to estimate the health burden and the direct as well as indirect costs of morbidity and mortality attributable to obesity and overweight in Germany for the year 2002. We used the concept of attributable fractions based on German prevalence data and relative risks from US studies as well as routine statistics. We estimated obesity- and overweight-attributable deaths, years of potential life lost (YPLL) and quality-adjusted life years lost (QALY) for various diseases associated with obesity and overweight. Direct costs were estimated for inpatient and outpatient treatment, rehabilitation and non-medical costs. Indirect costs were estimated for sickness absence, early retirement and mortality using the human capital approach. We estimated 36,653 obesity- and overweight-attributable deaths with 428,093 consecutive YPLL and 367,772 QALYs lost. Obesity caused 4,854 million EUR in direct costs corresponding to 2.1% of the overall German health expenditures in 2002 and 5,019 million EUR in indirect costs. Forty-three percent of direct costs resulted from endocrinological diseases like diabetes and obesity itself, followed by cardiovascular diseases (38%), neoplasms (14%) and digestive diseases (6%). Sixty percent of indirect costs resulted from unpaid work, and 67% of overall indirect costs were due to mortality. Obesity and overweight are connected to considerable morbidity and mortality as well as societal costs. Improvement and further development of effective strategies for preventing and dealing with obesity and overweight are necessary.


Obesity Overweight Adiposity Cost analysis Economics 



This study was supported by the IFB Adiposity Diseases Leipzig funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The authors have no conflicts of interest that are relevant to the contents of this article.

Supplementary material

10198_2010_242_MOESM1_ESM.doc (357 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 357 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical Sociology and Health EconomicsUniversity Medical Center Hamburg-EppendorfHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Health Economics Research Unit, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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