To evaluate the potential impact on obesity prevalence, and cost and cost-effectiveness of prevention and treatment strategies, the Childhood Obesity Intervention Cost-Effectiveness Study (CHOICES) developed a simulation model of the U.S. population. The model creates a virtual population that is representative of the U.S. population, and follows these individuals over time as they grow and incur obesity-related health outcomes and expenditures. Data such as height, weight, food intake, and physical activity are synthesized from multiple sources including the U.S. Census and National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES).

The CHOICES project uses this virtual U.S. population to simulate baseline projections against which it can compare the costs and effects of specific obesity prevention and treatment interventions.  This comparison allows researchers to estimate the difference an intervention will make in obesity prevalence and obesity-related health care costs and other health outcomes.

The simulated model is discussed in more detail in: