Evaluating the Cost-Effectiveness of Nutrition Policies to Reduce the Obesogenic Effects of Restaurant and Fast Food Intake
Background: Reducing obesogenic effects of restaurant and fast food intake is a national nutrition policy priority. This study estimated the potential cost-effectiveness of national restaurant menu calorie labeling and a proposed 20 percent fast food sales tax.
Methods: The Childhood Obesity Intervention Cost Effectiveness Study (CHOICES) microsimulation model and systematic review process was used to estimate the cost-effectiveness of nutrition policies targeting restaurant and fast food intake. Healthcare costs averted and cost-effectiveness of ten-year reductions in body mass index (BMI), childhood obesity and gains in quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) were estimated for the 2015 U.S. population.
Results: Implementing menu labeling and the fast food tax would cost $278 million and $141 million in the first year, respectively, and would reach approximately 90 million youth. Based on a meta-analysis of menu labeling studies, menu labeling was estimated to reduce per capita BMI among youth by -0.014 units (95% Uncertainty Interval (UI): -0.039; 0.011). Based on published estimates of fast food demand and relationship between fast food intake and BMI, the fast food tax was estimated to reduce BMI among youth by -0.002 units (95%UI: -0.005, 0). Results on healthcare costs and cost-effectiveness to reduce childhood and adult obesity and increase QALYs will be presented.
Conclusions: The proposed policies would likely have limited impact on reducing childhood obesity. However, due to higher fast food and restaurant intake as well as a stronger relationship between intake and BMI among adults, these policies are expected to have a greater impact on reducing adult obesity.
Learning Areas:Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related public policy
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health
Evaluate the evidence supporting estimates of the potential impact of restaurant menu calorie labeling and fast food taxes on child and adult BMI and related healthcare costs Compare the cost-effectiveness of restaurant menu calorie labeling and fast food taxes to other nutrition policy and programmatic approaches to reducing childhood obesity
Keyword(s): Obesity, Decision-Making
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the lead or co-author on publications and presentations evaluating a broad range of nutrition policies targeting school food environments, neighborhood food environments, federal nutrition assistance programs and food prices.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.