Stopping the obesity epidemic with cost-effective interventions

The Childhood Obesity Intervention Cost-Effectiveness Study (CHOICES) at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is working to help reverse the US obesity epidemic by identifying the most cost-effective childhood obesity interventions.

Adults and children in the US consume more calories from foods and beverages than they are expending. Over the past few decades, this trend has created an obesity epidemic.

Identifying what works to prevent childhood obesity has become a priority for public health researchers, policymakers, and the general public.

Little attention has been paid, however, to identifying solutions that not only work, but that deliver the best results for the dollars invested in them. Some interventions can even produce cost savings. Identifying these cost-effective interventions is CHOICES’ work.

Rigorous process, unique focus

CHOICES’ methods include:

  • Working with researchers and key stakeholders to identify the most promising programs and policies for evaluation: Stakeholder consultation
  • Building a computer model of the US population and projecting Body Mass Index (BMI) changes, obesity rates, and health outcomes over time: US population model
  • Synthesizing scientific literature to estimate the likely effects of promising obesity prevention interventions on BMI and physical activity: Systematic reviews and meta-analyses
  • Integrating information on the economic costs and health effects of interventions, utilizing a structured, transparent process: Cost-effectiveness analysis

The CHOICES research team has generated cost-effectiveness estimates for more than 40 of the most widely promoted or implemented childhood obesity prevention interventions, many of which have never been fully evaluated for comparative- or cost-effectiveness.

We know what works

CHOICES’ research identifies cost-effective childhood obesity intervention strategies within five sectors: