Table of Contents
Epidemiology Research International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 132392, 13 pages
Research Article

Developing a Dynamic Microsimulation Model of the Australian Health System: A Means to Explore Impacts of Obesity over the Next 50 Years

National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia

Received 1 November 2011; Revised 12 February 2012; Accepted 19 March 2012

Academic Editor: Douglas G. Manuel

Copyright © 2012 Sharyn Lymer and Laurie Brown. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Health of the ageing population has the potential to place considerable pressure on future government spending. Further, the impacts of the obesity epidemic have the potential to place additional pressure on government health budgets. In response to such fiscal concerns in Australia, a dynamic microsimulation model, APPSIM, has been developed at the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM). The health module was developed to allow consideration of health behaviours within the context of an ageing population and the resultant health profile of the population. Also included in the modelling is the associated use of health services and their costs. All health variables used were imputed onto the 2001 basefile derived from the 1 percent unit record file of the 2001 Australian census. Transition equations of these variables were estimated to allow projections over time. In this paper, the model has been used to look at the impacts of obesity on the Australian population health profile and associated health expenditure. In the scenario, removal of obesity from the population leads to a simulated population with a better health profile but showed only marginal changes in relative health expenditure.