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Milliman Report Addresses the Potential Impact of Height and Weight on Medical Costs
Date:9/15/2009

SEATTLE, Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- A new report issued by Milliman reveals the unrealized potential of height and weight characteristics in predicting medical claim costs. The research demonstrates that the commonly used metric for height and weight, the Body Mass Index (BMI), may not be the best indicator of future healthcare costs.

"BMI is a single value calculated as a function of a person's height and weight, and it is often used to categorize relative obesity," says co-author Jon Shreve. "According to the World Health Organization, a person with a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese and thereby considered high risk for chronic diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Our research shows that BMI is an inconsistent measure of build for men and women of different heights, making it a poor predictor of expected medical claim costs."

"When calculating BMI, weight is divided by height squared, but our research determined that weight divided by height cubed provides a better prediction of medical claim costs associated with height and weight," says co-author Mary van der Heijde. "Research suggests that other metrics, such as the Rohrer's Index (RI), better coincide with medical claim costs."

To request a copy of this recently published research report, please contact Mary van der Heijde at (303) 299-9400 or via email at mary.vanderheijde@milliman.com.

About Milliman

Milliman is among the world's largest independent actuarial and consulting firms. Founded in Seattle in 1947 as Milliman & Robertson, the company currently has 50 offices in key locations worldwide. Milliman employs over 2,100 people, with a professional staff of more than 1,100 qualified consultants and actuaries, including specialists ranging from clinicians to economists. The firm
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