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Study Lists Three Cost-Effective Intervention Programs that can Reduce Childhood Obesity Rates

Update Date: Nov 03, 2015 03:09 PM EST

Childhood obesity is a dangerous disease that when left unchecked can lead to several health conditions in adulthood. In order to prevent obesity, several programs have been created and will be implemented over the next few years. However, not all of these programs are cost-effective.

In a new study, researchers compared seven policies that were at the top of the agenda using a model that hypothetically implemented them from 2015 to 2025. The goal was to see which programs would be effective at reducing obesity while saving money throughout its implementation process.

The researchers wrote, "We used systematic reviews and a microsimulation model of national implementation of the interventions over the period 2015-25 to estimate their impact on obesity prevalence and their cost-effectiveness for reducing the body mass index of individuals."

The team found that only three of them were cost effective. The three polices were an excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, the eradication of a tax subsidy for unhealthy food adverts targeted to children, and improvement on the nutritional standards for food and beverages that are sold at schools.

The researchers estimated that the three policies could prevent 129,000 - 576,000 cases of childhood obesity by 2025.

The other four policies, calorie labeling on menus, nutrition standards for meals given out at school, improved early care combined with education, and better access to bariatric surgery for children, were not as effective. The researchers noted that adolescent bariatric surgery had a "negligible impact" on the children.

They concluded that early prevention was the key in reducing obesity rates.

The study, "Three Interventions That Reduce Childhood Obesity Are Projected To Save More Than They Cost To Implement," was published in Health Affairs.

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