Economics of obesity

Economic evaluation in the area of obesity prevention and managementis a key area of collaboration between DHE and the WHO Centre for Research and Training in relation to Obesity Prevention. More broadly, DHE and the WHO Centre collaborate with external research groups, both nationally and internationally. The work of the group falls into three broad areas; namely, the measurement of the economic impacts of obesity; the economic evaluation of single interventions targeting obesity prevention; and thirdly, the evaluation of multiple interventions to inform priority setting and the development of obesity prevention strategies.

Current Projects
Past Projects


Current projects:

  • ACE-Obesity America Pilot Study involves a collaboration with the School of Public Health at Harvard University in Boston, USA. It aims to adapt our successful ACE (Assessing Cost-Effectiveness)-Obesity methodology to the United States, and to evaluate four policy interventions targeting unhealthy weight gain. 

Project contact: Marj Moodie, Principal Research Fellow, marj.moodie@deakin.edu.au

  • OPIC: Obesity Prevention in the Pacific.This is a four-country project funded by NHMRC (Australia), HRC (New Zealand) and the Wellcome Trust (Fiji and Tonga) which aims to build capacity to prevent adolescent overweight and obesity.  In addition to community-based interventions, the project involves a series of analytical studies (socio-cultural, policy and economic). Deakin Health Economics is responsible for the economic evaluation across the four countries. For further information on this project refer: http://www.deakin.edu.au/hmnbs/who-obesity/research/ssop/opic/index.php.

    Publications from this project are:
  • Moodie M, Richardson J, Rankin B, Iezzi A, Sinha K. Predicting time trade-off health state valuations of adolescent in four Pacific countries using the Assessment of Quality of Life (AQoL-6D) instrument. Value in Health, In press 15 June 2010
  • Mathews L, Simmons A, Moodie M, Swinburn B. The process evaluation of It's Your Move!, an Australian adolescent obesity prevention project. Public Health, 2010
  • Swinburn, B., Pryor, J., McCabe, M., Carter, R., de Courten, M., Schaaf, D and Scragg R. (2007) "The Pacific OPIC project (Obesity Prevention in Communities) – Objectives and Designs", Health Promotion in the Pacific, Vol 14(2), pp139-146, Sept 2007.
  • Keating C, Moodie M, Swinburn B, Richardson J. Utility-based quality of life of overweight and obesity adolescents. Value in Health, Accepted 2 Feb 2011.

Project contact: Marj Moodie, Principal Research Fellow, marj.moodie@deakin.edu.au

  • Capacity Building Grant in Childhood and Adolescent Obesity Prevention. This NHMRC Capacity Building Grant endeavors to build research capacity in the area of obesity prevention.

Project contact: Marj Moodie, Principal Research Fellow, marj.moodie@deakin.edu.au

  • Transform Us! In conjunction with the Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition (C-PAN), also at Deakin University, we are conducting the economic evaluation of this intervention study in Melbourne primary schools. It aims to reduce the amount of time that children spend sitting while at school and home.

Project contact: Marj Moodie, Principal Research Fellow, marj.moodie@deakin.edu.au

  • Gastric banding for the management of obstructive sleep apnoea in the obese: This study entails a cost-effectiveness analysis alongside a randomized controlled trial conducted by Monash University and funded by the NHMRC. The trial is currently underway.

Project contact: Anne Magnus, Senior Research Fellow, anne.magnus@deakin.edu.au

  • Health Economics of bariatric surgery – results from 20 years of the Swedish Obese Subjects Study. The proposed project aims to:
    • determine and compare the long-term (20 years) health care utilisation costs in patients treated surgically and conventionally;
    • determine whether any surgical sub-groups (eg. by age group, gender, baseline type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome status, BMI sub group etc) achieve greater "benefits" from bariatric surgery as indicated by larger reductions in observed utilisation of health care services (relative to matched controls).
    • determine the cost effectiveness of bariatric surgery relative to conventional therapy based on observed costs and outcomes in the SOS study over 20 years.

Project contact: Catherine Keating, Senior Research Fellow, catherine.keating@deakin.edu.au

  • Cost-effectiveness of optimising healthy gestational weight gain in overweight and obese women: This study entails a cost-effectiveness analysis alongside a randomized controlled trial conducted by Monash University and funded by the NHMRC.

Project contact: Catherine Keating, Senior Research Fellow, catherine.keating@deakin.edu.au

  • Cost-effectiveness of preventing weight gain in young to mid-age women living in rural communities:This study entails a cost-effectiveness analysis alongside a randomized controlled trial conducted by Monash University and funded by the NHMRC.

Project contact: Catherine Keating, Senior Research Fellow, catherine.keating@deakin.edu.au

  • Economic impacts of severe obesity:This comprises three sub-studies:

(i) Medical and pharmaceutical utilisation and costs associated with severe obesity:This study will analyse Australian National Medicare healthcare utilisation data for Class I and II obese patients and a general population sample to estimate the excess healthcare costs attributable to obesity and identify the cost drivers. 

(ii) Medical and pharmaceutical utilisation and costs before and after obesity surgery: This study will analyse Australian National Medicare healthcare utilisation data for Class I and II obese patients before and after gastric banding surgery. It will identify changes in healthcare utilisation patterns and costs.

(iii) Quality of life utility weights attributable to overweight and obesity.This study will analyse data from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle (AusDiab) study, a longitudinal general population sample (total n = 11,067) to estimate utility weights for the full range of the body mass index. Utility weights can be adopted in future cost-utility analyses.

 All three studies are funded by a research-initiated grant from Allergan Health. Publications are anticipated in early 2011.

Project contact: Catherine Keating, Senior Research Fellow, catherine.keating@deakin.edu.au


Past projects

  • Be Active Eat Well Follow-up project. We are currently undertaking an economic evaluation of this successful community-based obesity prevention intervention which targeted children in primary schools. The evaluation will assess the cost-effectiveness of this capacity-boosting approach both in the high investment phase and in the period since the program ceased. Papers are currently in preparation. For further information on the project refer:  http://www.goforyourlife.vic.gov.au/hav/articles.nsf/pracpages/Be_Active_Eat_Well

Project contact: Marj Moodie, Principal Research Fellow, marj.moodie@deakin.edu.au

  • ACE-Obesity. This was a two year collaboration with the Victorian Department of Human Services to assess the cost effectiveness of selected interventions targeting child and adolescent obesity. This project engendered substantial interest nationally and internationally and led to current ACE initiatives in the USA and the UK. 

Publications from this project include:

  • Moodie M, Carter R, Swinburn B and Haby M (2010) "Assessing Cost-Effectiveness in Obesity: Active transport program for primary school children – TravelSMART Schools Curriculum Program". Journal of Physical Activity & Health. (In Press, 31st January, 2010 JPAH_2009_0015.R1).
  • Ananthapavan J, Moodie M, Haby MM and Carter R (2010) "Assessing Cost-Effectiveness in Obesity: Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding for severely obese adolescents", Surgery for Obesity and Related Disorders, (Manuscript SOARD-09-100R1, In Press 12th February, 2010).
  • Moodie M, Carter R, Swinburn B and Haby M (2009) "The cost-effectiveness of Australia's Active After-School Communities Program, Obesity, pp. 1-8, Nature Publishing Group, Basingstoke, England.
  • Carter R, Moodie M, Marwick A, Magnus A, Tay-Teo K-S, Vos T Swinburn B and Haby MM (2009) "Assessing Cost-Effectiveness in Obesity (ACE-Obesity): An overview of ACE approach, economic methods and cost results", BMC Public Health 2009, 9:419.
  • Moodie M,Haby MM, Galvin L, Swinburn B and Carter R (2009) "Cost-effectiveness of active transport for primary school children - Walking School Bus program", International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, 14 September, 6:63 (http://www.ijbnpa.org/content/6/1/63).
  • Magnus A, Haby M, Carter R and Swinburn B. (2009) "The cost-effectiveness of removing television advertising of high fat and/or high sugar food and beverages to Australian children." International Journal of Obesity, 4 August 2009; doi:10.1038/ijo.2009.156.
  • Moodie M, Haby M, Wake M, L Gold and Carter R (2008) "ACE-Obesity: Cost-effectiveness of a family-based GP-mediated intervention targeting overweight and moderately obese children", Economics of Obesity & Human Biology, 6 (2008) 363-376.
  • Haby, M., Vos, T., Carter, R., Moodie, M., Marwick, A., Magnus, A., Tay-Teo, K and Swinburn, B. (2006) "A new approach to assessing the health benefit from obesity interventions in children and adolescents – the Assessing Cost-Effectiveness in Obesity (ACE-Obesity) project", International Journal of Obesity, 30, 1463-1475. 32.

Project contact: Marj Moodie, Principal Research Fellow, marj.moodie@deakin.edu.au

  • Kids Go For Your Life!:An economic evaluation of this community-based obesity prevention initiative was undertaken in collaboration with the McCaughey Centre at The University of Melbourne on behalf of the Cancer Council Victoria.

Publications from this project include:

  • Andrea de Silva-Sanigorski, Lauren Prosser, Lauren Carpenter, Suzy Honisett, Lisa Gibbs, Marj Moodie, Lauren Sheppard, Boyd Swinburn and Elizabeth Waters.Evaluation of the childhood obesity prevention programs Kids - 'Go for your life'. BMC Public Health 2010, 10:288 (28 May 2010)

Project contact: Marj Moodie, Principal Research Fellow, marj.moodie@deakin.edu.au

  • Gastric banding for the resolution of type 2 diabetes: This study entailed a cost-efficacy and a cost-effectiveness analysis of a randomized controlled trial conducted by the Centre for Obesity Research and Education at Monash University. 

Publications from this project include:

  • Keating C, Dixon JB, Moodie ML, Peeters A, Bulfone L, Maglianno DJ, O'Brien P. Cost-effectiveness of surgically induced weight loss for the management of type 2 diabetes: modelled lifetime analysis. Diabetes Care. DC-08-1749. 2009;32(4):567-74.
  • Keating C, Dixon JB, Moodie ML, Peeters A, Playfair J, O'Brien PE. Cost-efficacy of surgically induced weight loss for the management of type 2 diabetes: randomised controlled trial. Diabetes Care. DC-08-1748. 2009;32(4):580-4.

Project contact: Catherine Keating, Senior Research Fellow, catherine.keating@deakin.edu.au

  • Independent review of economic research commissioned by Medibank Australia.Deakin Health Economics was contracted by The Obesity Surgery Society of Australia and New Zealand (OSSANZ) to review the report titled "Economic Modelling of the Impact of Obesity and Obesity Interventions". The report (dated 26 March 2010) was prepared by KPMG EconTech on behalf of Medibank.

Project contact: Catherine Keating, Senior Research Fellow, catherine.keating@deakin.edu.au

Stream Coordinator: Marj Moodie, Principal Research Fellow, marj.moodie@deakin.edu.au


Back to top