Three inexpensive programs have proven to be the most cost-effective ways to reduce childhood obesity rates, results from the Childhood Obesity Intervention Cost-Effectiveness Study (CHOICES) show.
The work has provided clear evidence that the interventions save more than they cost to implement, said investigator Steven Gortmaker, PhD, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
"That's extraordinary," he said here at the American Academy of Pediatrics 2017 National Conference and Exhibition. "These are actual cost-saving interventions."
Dr Gortmaker and his colleagues assessed more than 40 programs on the national agenda by examining evidence reviews from some 130,000 peer-reviewed publications. The team used big data and microsimulation models to project the impact of interventions and their cost-effectiveness over the decade from 2015 to 2025, taking into account trends across states and populations.
The first intervention is the imposition of an excise tax — $0.01 per ounce — on sugar-sweetened beverages. This has been shown to reduce consumption and is inexpensive to implement because tax systems are already in place. Projected savings of about $14 billion come from the slower rise in obesity rates induced by the tax, and do not include the expected $12.5 billion increase in national tax revenue.