Economic perspectives on pediatric obesity: impact on health care expenditures and cost-effectiveness of preventive interventions.
Sommaire de l'article
This chapter surveys two segments of the economic literature on pediatric obesity: first, research regarding the impact of childhood obesity on health care expenditure, and second, research evaluating the cost-effectiveness of programs to prevent pediatric obesity. Evidence in support of the hypothesis that obese children and adolescents have higher health care costs than their otherwise similar healthy-weight peers has been found for female adolescents. Studies trying to calculate the complete lifetime health care costs attributable to childhood obesity are missing. Only a small number of studies assessing the cost-effectiveness of preventive obesity interventions among children have been published until now. The results call for the inclusion of nutrition behavior as an intervention target. There is some evidence that childhood obesity prevention might be successful in combining health gains with cost savings. However, it is not possible to rank the interventions according to their cost-effectiveness or to assess the generalizability of their results. Cost-effectiveness increasingly will be a major consideration in public reimbursement decisions. Therefore, evaluation research has to pay more attention to the economic aspects of new health technologies. Without providing good value for money, those technologies probably will not turn from inventions to innovations in health care. Moreover, future research should address various methodological and conceptual challenges and limitations which economic evaluations of preventive interventions into childhood obesity are faced with.