Research into lifetime costs of obesity in childhood is growing. This review synthesizes that knowledge.
A computerized search of the international literature since 2000 was conducted. Mean total lifetime healthcare and productivity costs were estimated and inflated to 2014 Irish euros.
This resulted in 13 published articles. The methodology used in these studies varied widely, and only one study estimated both healthcare and productivity costs. Cognizant of this heterogeneity, the mean total lifetime cost of a child or adolescent with obesity was €149,206 (range, €129,410 to €178,933) for a boy and €148,196 (range, €136,576 to €173,842) for a girl. This was divided into an average of €16,229 (range, €6,580 to €35,810) in healthcare costs and €132,977 (range, €122,830 to €143,123) in productivity losses for boys and €19,636 (range, €8,016 to €45,283) and €128,560, respectively, for girls. Income penalty accounted for the greater part of productivity costs, amounting to €97,118 (range, €86,971 to €107,264) per male adolescent with obesity and €126,108 per female adolescent.
Healthcare costs and income penalty appear greater in girls while costs because of workdays lost seem greater in boys. There is proportionality between body mass index and costs. Productivity costs are greater than healthcare costs.