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Obes Facts. 2017 Oct 7;10(5):458-472. doi: 10.1159/000458759. [Epub ahead of print]

Economic Evaluation of Intensive Inpatient Treatments for Severely Obese Children and Adolescents.

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Department of Health Sciences and the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Considering the large economic consequences of severe childhood obesity for the society, we aimed to conduct an economic evaluation comparing two intensive 1-year lifestyle treatments with varying inpatient periods for severely obese children and adolescents with regard to standard deviation score BMI (SDS-BMI) and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs).


An economic evaluation from a societal perspective accompanying a randomized controlled trial with a 24-month follow-up. 80 participants (8-19 years) with severe obesity were included. Participants received an intensive 1-year lifestyle treatment with an inpatient period of 2 months (short-stay group) or 6 months (long-stay group). Data were collected at baseline, 6, 12 ,and 24 months and included SDS-BMI and QALYs.


SDS-BMI decreased in the first 6 months of treatment, stabilized in the second 6 months, and increased during the 2nd year in both groups. After 24 months, SDS-BMI was similar in both groups, but remained lower than baseline values (mean difference -0.24, 95% CI -0.42; -0.06). There was no difference in QALYs between the groups after 24 months. For SDS-BMI, the probability of the short-stay treatment being cost-effective in comparison with the long-stay treatment was 1 at a willingness-to-pay of 0 EUR/unit of effect, which slowly decreased to 0.54 for larger willingness-to-pay values.


Based on the results of this study, the short-stay treatment is considered to be more cost-effective from the societal perspective in comparison with the long-stay treatment. Future research should provide insight in whether the short-stay treatment is cost-effective in comparison with usual care.


Economic evaluation; Inpatient treatment; QALY; Severe childhood obesity

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