Cost-effectiveness of a school-based health promotion program in Canada: A life-course modeling approachReport as inadecuate

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The Alberta Project Promoting active Living and healthy Eating in Schools APPLE Schools has been recognized as a -best practice- in preventing childhood obesity. To inform decision making on the economic implications of APPLE Schools and to justify investment, we evaluated the project’s cost-effectiveness following a life-course approach.


We developed a state transition model for the lifetime progression of body weight status comparing elementary school students attending APPLE Schools and control schools. This model quantified the lifetime impact of APPLE Schools in terms of prevention of excess body weight, chronic disease and improved quality-adjusted life years QALY, from a school system’s cost perspective. Both costs and health outcomes were discounted to their present value using 3% discount rate.


The incremental cost-effectiveness ratioICER of APPLE schools was CA$33,421 per QALY gained, and CA$1,555, CA$1,709 and CA$14,218 per prevented person years of excess weight, obesity and chronic disease, respectively. These estimates show that APPLE Schools is cost effective at a threshold of ICER < CA$50,000.In probabilistic sensitivity analysis, APPLE Schools was cost effective more than 64% of the time per QALY gained, when using a threshold of ICER

School-based health promotion, such as APPLE Schools is a cost-effective intervention for obesity prevention and reduction of chronic disease risk over the lifetime. Expanding the coverage and allocating resources towards school-based programs like the APPLE Schools program, is likely to reduce the public health burden of obesity and chronic diseases.

Author: John Paul Ekwaru , Arto Ohinmaa , Bach Xuan Tran , Solmaz Setayeshgar , Jeffrey A. Johnson , Paul J. Veugelers



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