The impact of weight loss among seniors on Medicare spending

Health Economics Review: March 20, 2013


To examine the impact of temporary and permanent weight loss of 10% and 15% on 10-year and lifetime Medicare spending among adults with overweight and obesity aged 65 years and older. Weight loss of this magnitude is consistent with next generation anti-obesity medications recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration.


We follow the approach of a longitudinal dynamic aging process model developed by our research team. This model considers the dynamic relationships between weight, chronic disease, acute medical events, functional status, mortality, health care utilization and spending among Medicare beneficiaries from age 65 until death. Using this model, we estimate baseline Medicare spending over the next decade and then over the lifetime of seniors with a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 27 with at least one weight-related comorbidity (overweight), and seniors with obesity having a BMI ≥ 30 and ≥ 35. Read more