Obesity Economic Impact Analysis: Insights from Saudi Arabia

João L. Carapinha, Ph.D.


On World Obesity Day 2024, let’s focus on Syenza’s Obesity Economic Impact Analysis and the escalating global health crisis that obesity represents. This day highlights the pressing need to address the rising obesity rates worldwide, particularly the profound impact obesity has on individual health, healthcare systems, and economic productivity. Obesity, a multifaceted issue involving genetics, environment, and lifestyle, increases the risk of diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular conditions, and also imposes significant economic burdens on societies.

To this end, we recently published a groundbreaking study conducted in Saudi Arabia, which studied the ten-year cost-consequence analysis of weight loss on obesity-related outcomes in privately insured adults [1]. This research is pivotal for its findings but is also an essential tool for policymakers in Saudi Arabia to implement effective weight loss programs.

Unpacking the Obesity Economic Impact Analysis

The study’s core aim was to quantify the economic impact of weight loss on obesity-related health outcomes over a decade. The findings were startling, demonstrating potential savings of USD 1.295 billion over ten years, with the most significant reductions in costs associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), given its high prevalence and associated costs. We also found that the elderly population had a higher prevalence of obesity-related outcomes, such as hypertension, osteoarthritis, and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).

Implications for Policy and Beyond

What makes this study particularly impactful is its timing and context. Saudi Arabia, like many countries, is confronted with escalating obesity rates. This research offers a clear, evidence-based argument for the implementation of weight loss programs, quantifying both health benefits and substantial economic savings.

Furthermore, since publishing this research we have learnt that its implications resonate beyond Saudi borders. Our analysis offers a model for how other countries might approach the economic dimensions of obesity. The cost savings reported in the study could motivate other countries to also adopt similar strategies, tailoring interventions to their unique demographic and health landscape.

Reflection and Future Directions

It’s evident that while the study marks a significant stride forward, this is just the beginning of a long journey! The battle against obesity demands ongoing research, innovative policy-making, and community engagement. At Syenza, we’re committed to being at the forefront of this endeavor, supporting health economic research that informs effective strategies and fosters healthier societies. Together, we can pave the way for a healthier future, underscored by robust research and proactive policy.


Hussain A. Al-Omar, Nasser Aljehani, Ali Alshehri, Abdullah Al-Khenizan, Faisal Al-Shammari, Abdulmohsen Abanumay, Volker Schnecke, João L. Carapinha & Saleh A. Alqhatani (2023) Ten-year cost-consequence analysis of weight loss on obesity-related outcomes in privately insured adults with obesity in Saudi Arabia, Journal of Medical Economics, 26:1, 802-810, DOI: 10.1080/13696998.2023.2221570