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Cost-effectiveness of community-based childhood obesity prevention interventions in Australia

OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study is to examine, from a limited societal perspective, the cost-effectiveness of community-based obesity prevention interventions (CBIs)-defined as a programme of community-level strategies to promote healthy eating and physical activity for Australian children (aged 5-18 years). METHODS: The effectiveness of CBIs was determined by undertaking a literature review and meta-analysis. Commonly implemented strategies to increase physical activity and improve nutrition were costed (in 2010 Australian dollars) to determine the average cost of a generic programme. A multiple cohort Markov model that simulates diseases associated with overweight and obesity was used to estimate the health benefits, measured as health-adjusted life years (HALYs) and healthcare-related cost offsets from diseases averted due to exposure to the intervention. Health and cost outcomes were estimated over the lifetime of the target population. Monte-Carlo simulation was used to assess second-order uncertainty of input parameters to estimate mean incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER) with 95% uncertainty intervals (UIs). Scenario analyses tested variations in programme intensity, target population, and duration of effect. RESULTS: The meta-analysis revealed a small but significant difference in BMI z-score (mean difference of - 0.07 (95% UI: - 0.13 to - 0.01)) favouring the CBI community compared with the control. The estimated net cost of implementing CBIs across all local government areas (LGAs) in Australia was AUD426M (95% UI: AUD3M to AUD823M) over 3 years. This resulted in 51,792 HALYs gained (95% UI: 6816 to 96,972) over the lifetime of the cohort. The mean ICER was AUD8155 per HALY gained (95% UI: AUD237 to AUD81,021), with a 95% probability of being cost-effective at a willingness to pay threshold of AUD50,000 per HALY. CONCLUSIONS: CBIs are cost-effective obesity prevention initiatives; however, implementation across Australia will be (relatively) expensive when compared with current investments in preventive health.



International journal of obesity






1102 - 1112


Nature Publishing Group


London, Eng.





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

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2019, Springer Nature Limited