Cost-effectiveness of a family-based multicomponent outpatient intervention program for children with obesity in Germany

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Objectives: Facing an epidemic of childhood obesity and budget constraints, public health administrations are showing an urgent interest in interventions that are both health effective and cost-effective. Thus, this study intends to analyze the return on investment of these existing programs. Study design: All analyses are based on a comprehensive data set from 249 children with obesity and overweight children who participated in the Children's Health InterventionaL Trial (CHILT), an 11-month outpatient multidisciplinary family-based program. Methods: Cost-effectiveness was assessed by comparing estimated savings associated with a reduction in weight and improvement of obesity-related health parameters with intervention costs. Projected future savings in health care expenditures were modeled on existing research, using estimates of health care costs associated with juvenile obesity and remission thresholds of obesity-related disease. Results: On average, participants achieved a 0.19-unit reduction in the body mass index standard deviation score, showed reduction in their blood pressure values (systolic = −1.76 mmHg, diastolic = −2.82 mmHg), and showed improvement in their high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol values (HDL = +1.31 mg/dL, LDL = –4.82 mg/dL). The intervention costs were 1799€ per participant, and the benefits of avoided future health care costs varied by individual. On an aggregated level, future savings amounted to between 1859€ and 1926€ per person, translating into a return on investment of 3.3–7.0%. Conclusions: This study shows that a multicomponent obesity intervention, such as the CHILT, not only results in weight loss and improves important health parameters but also is cost-effective.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Health
Issue number186
Pages (from-to)185-192
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 01.09.2020


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