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INTRODUCTION: Higher and lower-middle income countries are increasingly affected by obesity. Obesity-related diseases are placing a substantial health and economic burden on Brazil. Our aim is to measure the future consequences of these trends on the associated disease burden and health care costs. METHOD: A previously developed micro-simulation model is used to project the extent of obesity, obesity-related diseases and associated healthcare costs to 2050. In total, thirteen diseases were considered: coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and eight cancers. We simulated three hypothetical intervention scenarios: no intervention, 1% and 5% reduction in body mass index (BMI). RESULTS: In 2010, nearly 57% of the Brazilian male population was overweight or obese (BMI ≥25 kg/m(2)), but the model projects rates as high as 95% by 2050. A slightly less pessimistic picture is predicted for females, increasing from 43% in 2010 to 52% in 2050. Coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, cancers, osteoarthritis and diabetes prevalence cases are projected to at least double by 2050, reaching nearly 34,000 cases of hypertension by 2050 (per 100,000). 1% and 5% reduction in mean BMI will save over 800 prevalence cases and nearly 3,000 cases of hypertension by 2050 respectively (per 100,000). The health care costs will double from 2010 ($5.8 billion) in 2050 alone ($10.1 billion). Over 40 years costs will reach $330 billion. However, with effective interventions the costs can be reduced to $302 billion by 1% and to $273 billion by 5% reduction in mean BMI across the population. CONCLUSION: Obesity rates are rapidly increasing creating a high burden of disease and associated costs. However, an effective intervention to decrease obesity by just 1% will substantially reduce obesity burden and will have a significant effect on health care expenditure.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Adult, Aged, Body Mass Index, Brazil, Female, Health Care Costs, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Obesity, Overweight, Young Adult