Obesity Trends and the Morbidity and Longevity Impacts

Background and Purpose

The Mortality and Longevity Research Program Steering Committee (MLPSC) is interested in examining the latest trends in obesity and developing an estimate of the impact of obesity in mortality and morbidity costs in the US and Canada. Obesity is associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease as well as type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and some types of cancer, all of which can negatively impact life expectancy and increase health costs. According to the World Health Organization statistics, worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975 and as of 2016, the U.S. has the highest rate of obesity of all “industrialized” countries at 36.2 percent of the population.  Increased understanding of the potential effects of the trends in obesity on both mortality and morbidity would be helpful for pricing, valuation and other actuarial functions.

The project will include a literature review to examine the most current data and research focused on obesity and measuring its impact on the U.S. and Canadian populations. 

Research Objective

The MLPSC is seeking a researcher or a team of researchers to perform the study. We anticipate that the research will be conducted as follows:

  • Researcher(s) will perform a literature review, providing a general overview of current obesity trends, the historical and current impacts of obesity on morbidity and mortality. The research will consider these impacts by various demographic and socio-economic factors including  gender, smoking status, age group (lifelong obesity versus growing into obesity in adulthood), and others.
  • Using the information collected from the literature review, the research team will identify statistically significant differences in the risk of medical issues, treatment, and mortality rates related to obesity. The research team will then develop estimates of the additional dollar cost of obesity in the U.S. and Canada including medical costs, mortality costs, and lost productivity of workers.
  • Researchers will incorporate the findings of the study into a report to be made available on the Society of Actuaries (SOA) website. The report will include the results of the analysis as well as the data and methodologies used to identify and quantify risks.

Members of the project oversight group (POG) for this study will be available to provide feedback and guidance to the vendor as needed.


To facilitate the evaluation of proposals, the following information should be submitted:

  1. Resumes of the researcher(s), including any graduate student(s) expected to participate, indicating how their background, education and experience bear on their qualifications to undertake the research. If more than one researcher is involved, a single individual should be designated as the lead researcher and primary contact. The person submitting the proposal must be authorized to speak for all the researchers and for the firm or institution on whose behalf the proposal is submitted.
  1. An outline of the approach to be used (e.g. literature search, statistical techniques to be implemented for the analysis, etc.), emphasizing issues that require special consideration. Details should be given regarding the techniques to be used, collateral material to be consulted, specific suggested sources of data for the analysis and research work, and possible limitations of the analysis. 
  2. A description of the expected deliverables and any supporting data, tools or other resources.
  3. Cost estimates for the research, including computer time, salaries, report preparation, material costs, etc. Such estimates can be in the form of hourly rates, but in such cases, time estimates should also be included. Any guarantees as to total cost should be given and will be considered in the evaluation of the proposal. While cost will be a factor in the evaluation of the proposal, it will not necessarily be the decisive factor.
  4. A schedule for completion of the research, identifying key dates or time frame for research completion and report submissions. Suggestions in the proposal for ensuring timely delivery, such as fee adjustments, are encouraged.
  5. Other related factors that give evidence of a proposer's capabilities to perform in a superior fashion should be detailed.

Selection Process

The MLPSC has appointed a Project Oversight Group (POG) to oversee the project.  The MLPSC and POG are responsible for recommending the proposal to be funded.  Input from other knowledgeable individuals may also be sought, but the MLPSC and POG will make the final recommendation, subject to SOA leadership approval. The SOA's Research Actuary will provide staff actuarial support.


Any questions regarding this RFP should be directed to:

Ronora Stryker
SOA Research Actuaryr
Phone: 847-706-3614
Email:  rstryker@soa.org

Notification of Intent To Submit Proposal

If you intend to submit a proposal, please e-mail written notification by March 18, 2020 to Jan Schuh (JSchuh@soa.org).  You may also submit questions prior to this deadline.

Submission of Proposal

Please e-mail a copy of the proposal to Jan Schuh (JSchuh@soa.org).

Proposals must be received no later than April 1, 2020. It is anticipated that all proposers will be informed of the status of their proposal by April 30, 2020 or sooner.

Note: Proposals are considered confidential and proprietary.


The selection of a proposal is conditioned upon and not considered final until a Letter of Agreement is executed by both the Society of Actuaries and the vendor.

The SOA and MLPSC reserve the right to not award a contract for this research. Reasons for not awarding a contract could include, but are not limited to, a lack of acceptable proposals or a finding that insufficient funds are available. The SOA and MLPSC also reserve the right to redirect the project as is deemed advisable.

The SOA and MLPSC plan to hold the copyright to the research and to publish the results with appropriate credit given to the vendor.

The SOA and MLPSC may choose to seek public exposure or media attention for the research.  By submitting a proposal, you agree to cooperate with the SOA and MLPSC in publicizing or promoting the research and responding to media requests.

The SOA and MLPSC may also choose to market and promote the research to members, candidates and other interested parties.  You agree to perform promotional communication requested by the SOA and MLPSC, which may include, but is not limited to, leading a webcast on the research, presenting the research at an SOA meeting, and/or writing an article on the research for an SOA newsletter.