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Int J Eat Disord. 2012 May;45(4):476-91. doi: 10.1002/eat.20977. Epub 2012 Feb 1.

Cost-of-illness studies and cost-effectiveness analyses in eating disorders: a systematic review.

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  • 1Department of Medical Sociology and Health Economics, University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany.



To review cost-of-illness studies (COIs) and cost-effectiveness analyses (CEAs) of eating disorders (EDs) and to describe their methodological quality.


A systematic literature search was done. Search results passed through a selection process, included studies were classified as COIs, CEAs, or "other cost studies" (OCS). Costs were inflated and converted to 2008 US$ purchasing power parities (PPP). Quality criteria were developed and applied to each study.


Five COI, two CEA, and eleven "OCS" were reviewed. Most studies focused on anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Annual costs per patient ranged from 1,288 to 8,042 US$-PPP. All interventions, investigated in CEA, were more effective and less costly than the alternative treatments.


The number of publications investigating costs in EDs has increased recently. However, no COI provided a comprehensive estimate of costs, and the comparability of CEA was limited. Nonetheless, the results indicate that the costs arising from EDs are substantial.

Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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