Reducing obesity and related healthcare costs in Australia

Reducing obesity and related healthcare costs in Australia


  • Excess weight is associated with a wide range of debilitating, chronic and life threatening conditions. This leads to many serious but avoidable complications, premature mortality and significant healthcare costs.
  • With levels of obesity forecast to increase, the disease burden and healthcare costs are expected to worsen in the future.


  • The overall goal of this four-year project is to generate evidence-based recommendations to reduce obesity, improve health outcomes and reduce the use of healthcare resources among Australian adults. 
  • The program will quantify the impact of excess weight on reducing life expectancy in Australian adults, relative to their healthy counterparts, in order to determine key areas of need.


  • The program will develop a health economic model to evaluate interventions that prevent the progression of weight gain, obesity-related co-morbidities and premature mortality.
  • The model will be informed by Australian-specific longitudinal data of over 250,000 individuals aged 45 years and over with linked health administrative and costs data.


  • This research has found that overweight and obese adults aged 20-69 years in Australia have a lower life expectancy than their healthy counterparts. For adults with excess weight aged 20-39 years, the impact is as high as 8-10 years of life lost for both men and women.
  • The program will lead to the development of a health economic model that is designed to inform healthcare policy decisions through provision of evidence on long-term health and cost outcomes.