Health economicsGlobal Centre for Preventive Health and Nutrition
In addition to the health impact caused by unhealthy diets and obesity, there is also a significant economic burden that is borne by all members of society, including individuals, businesses, and governments.
Decision makers need to choose the best available resources to maximise the health and wellbeing of our society. There are numerous policies and programs that can be implemented across various sectors to address unhealthy diets and obesity. Economic analyses can provide the information required by decision-makers to make these choices.
We partner with research institutes, government, and NGOs globally to undertake a diverse program of research with the aim of providing high quality, policy relevant evidence to inform efficient allocation of resources to achieve population health objectives.
Our expertise includes:
- design and implementation of economic evaluations alongside trials for obesity prevention and management
- economic modelling to predict the longer-term impacts of obesity prevention policies and programs
- large scale priority-setting trials providing evidence of the comparative value for money of a range of policy relevant obesity prevention interventions
- cost of illness and burden of disease studies
- research using methods that accurately capture the economic credentials of obesity prevention interventions.
The ACE-Obesity Policy study evaluated the cost effectiveness of 16 obesity prevention programs and policies in Australia. Our award winning study developed an economic model that estimates the impact of changes in the prevalence of elevated body mass index, physical inactivity and fruit and vegetable intake on obesity related diseases. It quantifies and predicts health, health care cost-savings and cost-effectiveness of interventions that impact these risk factors. Since the completion of this study, the ACE-Obesity Policy model has been updated, enhanced, and modified for various country contexts and used to evaluate several additional obesity prevention initiatives.
Outcome measurement is a key component of demonstrating the value for money of obesity prevention policies and programs. Intervening in early childhood to improve obesity-related behaviours has been shown to be important, however the measurement of intervention outcomes in this population is inconsistent and therefore poses challenges when conducting economic evaluations. The Core Outcome Set (COS) for Early intervention trials to Prevent Obesity in Childhood (COS-EPOCH) includes 22 outcomes that should be measured and reported in trials of early childhood obesity prevention interventions commencing in children aged from birth to 5 years. The development of the COS followed best-practice guidelines and consisted of 3 stages:
- A systematic scoping review of outcomes collected and reported in early childhood obesity prevention trials
- An e-Delphi study with 206 stakeholders to early intervention
- A meeting with 9 stakeholders to reach consensus on outcomes
Identification of the recommended instruments to measure the COS-EPOCH outcomes is underway. This standardised guidance on the measurement and reporting of outcomes from early childhood obesity prevention interventions will improve evidence synthesis, reducing research waste when comparing across studies. The COS-EPOCH can also be used by trialists, practitioners and decision-makers interested in early childhood obesity prevention.