Effects of overweight and obesity on economic outcomes among U.S. adults with kidney disease

Preeti Zanwar, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background. Kidney disease is a growing public health phenomenon in the U.S. and in the world. Downstream interventions, dialysis and renal transplants covered by Medicare's renal disease entitlement policy in those who are 65 years and over have been expensive treatments that have been not foolproof. The shortage of kidney donors in the U.S. has grown in the last two decades. Therefore study of upstream events in kidney disease development and progression is justified to prevent the rising prevalence of kidney disease. Previous studies have documented the biological route by which obesity can progress and accelerate kidney disease, but health services literature on quantifying the effects of overweight and obesity on economic outcomes in the context of renal disease were lacking. Objectives . The specific aims of this study were (1) to determine the likelihood of overweight and obesity in renal disease and in three specific adult renal disease sub-populations, hypertensive, diabetic and both hypertensive and diabetic (2) to determine the incremental health service use and spending in overweight and obese renal disease populations and (3) to determine who financed the cost of healthcare for renal disease in overweight and obese adult populations less than 65 years of age. Methods. This study was a retrospective cross-sectional study of renal disease cases pooled for years 2002 to 2009 from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. The likelihood of overweight and obesity was estimated using chi-square test. Negative binomial regression and generalized gamma model with log link were used to estimate healthcare utilization and healthcare expenditures for six health event categories. Payments by self/family, public and private insurance were described for overweight and obese kidney disease sub-populations. Results. The likelihood of overweight and obesity was 0.29 and 0.46 among renal disease and obesity was common in hypertensive and diabetic renal disease population. Among obese renal disease population, negative binomial regression estimates of healthcare utilization per person per year as compared to normal weight renal disease persons were significant for office-based provider visits and agency home health visits respectively (p=0.001; p=0.005). Among overweight kidney disease population health service use was significant for inpatient hospital discharges (p=0.027). Over years 2002 to 2009, overweight and obese renal disease sub-populations had 53% and 63% higher inpatient facility and doctor expenditures as compared to normal weight renal disease population and these result were statistically significant (p=0.007; p=0.026). Overweigh renal disease population had significant total expenses per person per year for office-based and outpatient associated care. Overweight and obese renal disease persons paid less from out-of-pocket overall compared to normal weight renal disease population. Medicare and Medicaid had the highest mean annual payments for obese renal disease persons, while mean annual payments per year were highest for private insurance among normal weight renal disease population. Conclusion. Overweight and obesity were common in those with acute and chronic kidney disease and resulted in higher healthcare spending and increased utilization of office-based providers, hospital inpatient department and agency home healthcare. Healthcare for overweight and obese renal disease persons younger than 65 years of age was financed more by private and public insurance and less by out of pocket payments. With the increasing epidemic of obesity in the U.S. and the aging of the baby boomer population, the findings of the present study have implications for public health and for greater dissemination of healthcare resources to prevent, manage and delay the onset of overweight and obesity that can progress and accelerate the course of the kidney disease.^

Subject Area

Economics, General|Health Sciences, Public Health

Recommended Citation

Zanwar, Preeti, "Effects of overweight and obesity on economic outcomes among U.S. adults with kidney disease" (2012). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3542576.