Assessing Cost-Effectiveness in Obesity: Active Transport Program for Primary School Children—TravelSMART Schools Curriculum Program

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

To assess from a societal perspective the cost-effectiveness of a school program to increase active transport in 10- to 11-year-old Australian children as an obesity prevention measure.

Methods:

The TravelSMART Schools Curriculum program was modeled nationally for 2001 in terms of its impact on Body Mass Index (BMI) and Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) measured against current practice. Cost offsets and DALY benefits were modeled until the eligible cohort reached age 100 or died. The intervention was qualitatively assessed against second stage filter criteria (‘equity,’ ‘strength of evidence,’ ‘acceptability to stakeholders,’ ‘feasibility of implementation,’ ‘sustainability,’ and ‘side-effects’) given their potential impact on funding decisions.

Results:

The modeled intervention reached 267,700 children and cost $AUD13.3M (95% uncertainty interval [UI] $6.9M; $22.8M) per year. It resulted in an incremental saving of 890 (95%UI −540; 2,900) BMI units, which translated to 95 (95% UI −40; 230) DALYs and a net cost per DALY saved of $AUD117,000 (95% UI dominated; $1.06M).

Conclusions:

The intervention was not cost-effective as an obesity prevention measure under base-run modeling assumptions. The attribution of some costs to nonobesity objectives would be justified given the program’s multiple benefits. Cost-effectiveness would be further improved by considering the wider school community impacts.

Moodie and Carter are with Deakin Health Economics, Population Health Strategic Research Centre, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia. Haby is with the Public Health Branch of the Dept of Human Services, Melbourne, Australia. Swinburn is with the WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia.