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New first of its kind real-world study reveals significant progression of Obesity-Related Complications and Increased Healthcare costs in UK adults and adolescents living with Overweight and Obesity

Health Medical and public affairs Market access and evidence generation strategy Life sciences

LCP has published a novel series of real-world data (RWD) studies at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Dublin shedding light on the progression of obesity-related complications (ORCs) and the economic impacts of people living with overweight and obese on the healthcare system. Previously little was known about the complications from ORCs on overweight and obese adolescents, with this study the first of its kind to highlight how multimorbidity (2 or more chronic conditions) increases over a 5-year period in young individuals, similarly to the adult population. The study underlines the urgent need for early and effective management of the disease to prevent the development of complex multimorbidity.

The study, based on a UK real world dataset, revealed a significant increase in ORCs in adults living with overweight or obesity over a 10-year period. Total direct healthcare costs were £1445 per person per year in 2019, with higher costs associated with those living with ORC multimorbidity. A higher body mass index (BMI) at the first measurement was associated with a faster rate of progression of ORCs. With sharp increases particularly evident in healthcare resource intensive ORCs like type 2 diabetes, these findings underscore the importance of proactive prevention and disease management to mitigate the emergence of severe health conditions and multimorbidity over time.

The study delved into the as yet understudied area of ORCs in overweight and obese adolescents. Over a span of 5 years, researchers found a substantial rise in ORC multimorbidity among young individuals with most prevalent ORCs being asthma, back pain and obstructive sleep apnoea. This applied research provides more actionable insights into the ORC burden in adolescents living with obesity. The findings further revealed higher healthcare costs associated with ORCs in obese adolescents, aligning with similar trends observed in the adult population.

The LCP team was led by Dr Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard, Sara Holloway and Dr Andrew Thompson and the work was funded by Novo Nordisk, a Danish manufacturer of diabetes and obesity medications. The research team analysed more than 10 years’ worth of deidentified healthcare data from 429,358 adults, aged 18 or older, in the Discover database. This research database holds comprehensive primary and secondary care records of 2.8 million patients in North-West London, who were living with overweight or obesity.

Key findings of the study include:

  • In the adult population, ORCs increased over a 10-year period, with the increase being greater in higher obesity classes
  • Overweight and obese adolescents experience a rise in ORC multimorbidity over a 5-year period, resulting in increased healthcare costs.
  • Healthcare resource-intensive ORCs, such as type 2 diabetes, observed especially sharp increases in prevalence over time, emphasising the urgent need for preventative, holistic management over overweight patients.

Presented at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Dublin, Ireland this week, these studies contribute to the growing body of evidence on the prevalence and burden of ORCs in people living with obesity and the impact on healthcare systems. Dr Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard who is presenting the work at ECO: “This research provides leverages real world dataset to identify key patterns of illness and costs in a growing population living with obesity. Our studies highlight that risk of adverse outcomes is not equal within populations. Obesity and its complications can be effectively prevented and increased risks can be managed to reduce the obesity-related multimorbidity experienced by patients and corresponding economic impacts on healthcare systems.”

On the understudied area of overweight and obese adults, Sara Holloway commented “Previously very little was known about the complications presented by ORCs in adolescents living with obesity. This study is really the first of its kind to highlight how the likelihood of complex illnesses increases the longer young people live with obesity. Targeted efforts to more effectively manage chronic diseases and prevent complications would materially help reduce demand for acute healthcare services and lead to improved health for younger generations.”

Commenting on LCP’s role within this research, Dr Andrew Thompson said “At LCP, we are proud to be leveraging our analytical expertise to be addressing the big questions of today for the population’s health such as the growing obesity burden, which has become one of the most pressing challenges to health-driven prosperity across. This work also highlights the potential of real-world data and clinical insights to better understand total costs and impacts of diseases to inform medicine value assessments going forward”

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