Background: Although obesity is required for some criteria defining metabolic syndrome, clustering of other risk factors also indicates an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Whether the relationship between cardiovascular risk factor clustering and medical expenditures differs with body mass index (BMI) requires investigation, especially in a population with a low prevalence of obesity such as that in Japan. Methods and Results: A 10-year cohort study of 4,478 Japanese National Health Insurance beneficiaries aged 40-69 years in a community between 1990 and 2001 was carried out in the present study. The clustering of cardiovascular risk factors showed a positive and graded relationship to personal medical expenditures in participants who are overweight (BMI ≥25.0) and normal weight (BMI <25.0). The individual medical expenditures per month were 1.7-fold higher for participants with 2 or 3 risk factors and overweight than for those without these factors (26,782 vs 15,377 Japanese yen). Differences in the geometric means were similarly significant after adjustment for other confounding factors. However, the excess medical expenditures by risk clustering of normal weight categories within the total medical expenditures were higher than those of overweight categories because more participants were of normal weight. Conclusions: Cardiovascular risk factor clustering and being overweight can be a useful predictor of medical expenditures in a Japanese population.
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