Forecasting Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Incidence and Burden: The ViLA-Obesity Simulation Model

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  • Roch A. Nianogo, University of California at Los Angeles, California Center for Population Research
  • ,
  • Onyebuchi A. Arah

Background: Obesity is a major public health problem affecting millions of Americans and is considered one of the most potent risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Assessing future disease burden is important for informing policy-decision making for population health and healthcare. Objective: The aim of this study was to develop a computer model of a cohort of children born in Los Angeles County to study the life course incidence and trends of obesity and its effect on type 2 diabetes mellitus. Methods: We built the Virtual Los Angeles cohort—ViLA, an agent-based model calibrated to the population of Los Angeles County. In particular, we developed the ViLA-Obesity model, a simulation suite within our ViLA platform that integrated trends in the causes and consequences of obesity, focusing on diabetes as a key obesity consequence during the life course. Each agent within the model exhibited obesity- and diabetes-related healthy and unhealthy behaviors such as sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, physical activity, fast-food consumption, fresh fruits, and vegetable consumption. In addition, agents could gain or lose weight and develop type 2 diabetes mellitus with a certain probability dependent on the agent's socio-demographics, past behaviors and past weight or type 2 diabetes status. We simulated 98,230 inhabitants from birth to age 65 years, living in 235 neighborhoods. Results: The age-specific incidence of obesity generally increased from 10 to 30% across the life span with two notable peaks at age 6–12 and 30–39 years, while that of type 2 diabetes mellitus generally increased from <2% at age 18–24 to reach a peak of 25% at age 40–49. The 16-year risks of obesity were 32.1% (95% CI: 31.8%, 32.4%) for children aged 2–17 and 81% (95% CI: 80.8%, 81.3%) for adults aged 18–65. The 48-year risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus was 53.4% (95% CI: 53.1%, 53.7%) for adults aged 18–65. Conclusion: This ViLA-Obesity model provides an insight into the future burden of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus in Los Angeles County, one of the most diverse places in the United States. It serves as a platform for conducting experiments for informing evidence-based policy-making.

TidsskriftFrontiers in Public Health
StatusUdgivet - apr. 2022

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
RN wishes to thank his doctoral dissertation committee for providing constructive feedback that helped improved this article. In addition, we would like thank the UCLA Lewis Center and Norman Wong for providing the WalkScore data. RN would also like to thank the Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention and the Office of Health Assessment and Epidemiology in the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health for providing us with the LAHANES data and for their inputs in this project. In addition, RN would like to thank Darren Ho for his help in preparing the NHANES data and Mekdes Gebremariam for providing feedback on an earlier draft of this manuscript. In addition, an oral presentation of an earlier version of this manuscript was presented at AcademyHealth's Annual Research Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, June 25?27th, 2017. This abstract was selected as one the Best of AcademyHealth's Annual Research Meeting abstracts that year.

Funding Information:
RN was supported by a Burroughs Wellcome Fellowship and the Dissertation Year Fellowship from UCLA. OA was partly supported by grant R01-HD072296-01A1 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. In addition, RN benefited from facilities and resources provided by the California Center for Population Research at UCLA (CCPR), which receives core support (R24-HD041022) from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Nianogo and Arah.

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