Regional variations in the economic burden attributable to excess weight, physical inactivity and tobacco smoking across British Columbia

Hartmut Krueger, J M Koot, D P Rasali, S E Gustin, M Pennock

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Prevalence rates of excess weight, tobacco smoking and physical inactivity vary substantially by geographical region within British Columbia (B.C.). The purpose of this study is to determine the potential reduction in economic burden in B.C. if all regions in the province achieved prevalence rates of these three risk factors equivalent to those of the region with the lowest rates.

METHODS: We used a previously developed approach based on population-attributable fractions to estimate the economic burden associated with the various risk factors. Sex-specific relative risk and age/sex-specific prevalence data was used in the modelling.

RESULTS: The annual economic burden attributable to the three risk factors in B.C. was about $5.6 billion in 2013, with a higher proportion of this total attributable to excess weight ($2.6 billion) than to tobacco smoking ($2.0 billion). While B.C. has lower prevalence rates of the risk factors than any other Canadian province, there is significant variation within the province. If each region in the province were to achieve the best prevalence rates for the three risk factors, then $1.4 billion (24% of the $5.6 billion) in economic burden could be avoided annually.

CONCLUSION: There are notable disparities in the prevalence of each risk factor across health regions within B.C., which were mirrored in each region's attributable economic burden. A variety of social, environmental and economic factors likely drive some of this geographical variation and these underlying factors should be considered when developing prevention programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-86
Number of pages11
JournalHealth promotion and chronic disease prevention in Canada : research, policy and practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • Age Factors
  • Body Weight
  • British Columbia
  • Cost Savings
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Expenditures
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Lifestyle
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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