The objective of this study was to assess from a societal perspective the cost-effectiveness of the Active After-school Communities (AASC) program, a key plank of the former Australian Government's obesity prevention program. The intervention was modeled for a 1-year time horizon for Australian primary school children as part of the Assessing Cost-Effectiveness in Obesity (ACE-Obesity) project. Disability-adjusted life year (DALY) benefits (based on calculated effects on BMI post-intervention) and cost-offsets (consequent savings from reductions in obesity-related diseases) were tracked until the cohort reached the age of 100 years or death. The reference year was 2001, and a 3% discount rate was applied. Simulation-modeling techniques were used to present a 95% uncertainty interval around the cost-effectiveness ratio. An assessment of second-stage filter criteria ("equity," "strength of evidence," "acceptability to
stakeholders," "feasibility of implementation," "sustainability," and "side-effects") was undertaken by a stakeholder Working Group to incorporate additional factors that impact on resource allocation decisions. The estimated number of children new to physical activity after-school and therefore receiving the intervention benefit was 69,300. For 1 year, the intervention cost is Australian dollars (AUD) 40.3 million (95% uncertainty interval AUD 28.6 million; AUD 56.2 million), and resulted in an incremental saving of 450 (250; 770) DALYs. The resultant cost-offsets were AUD 3.7 million, producing a net cost per DALY saved of AUD 82,000 (95% uncertainty interval AUD 40,000; AUD 165,000). Although the program has intuitive appeal, it was not cost-effective under base-case modeling assumptions. To improve its cost-effectiveness credentials as an obesity prevention measure, a reduction in costs needs to be coupled with
increases in the number of participating children and the amount of physical activity undertaken.
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