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This systematic review critically appraised and synthesized evidence from economic evaluations of interventions targeting childhood excess weight. We conducted systematic searches in 11 databases from inception to April 19, 2023. Studies were eligible if they evaluated interventions targeting children up to 18 years and the study intervention(s) targeted childhood excess weight or sought to improve diet or physical activity, regardless of the type of economic evaluation or the underpinning study design. We synthesized evidence using narrative synthesis methods. One-hundred fifty-one studies met the eligibility criteria and were classified into three groups based on the intervention approach: prevention-only (13 studies), prevention and treatment (100 studies), and treatment-only (38 studies). The predominant setting and study design differed considerably between the three groups of studies. However, compared with usual care, most interventions were deemed cost-effective. The study participants' ages, sex, and socioeconomic status were crucial to intervention cost-effectiveness. Interventions whose effects were projected beyond childhood, such as bariatric surgery, lower protein infant formula, and home-based general practitioner consultations, tended to be cost-effective. However, cost-effectiveness was sensitive to the assumptions underlying the persistence and intensity of such effects. Our findings can inform future recommendations on the conduct of economic evaluations of interventions targeting childhood overweight and obesity, as well as practice and policy recommendations.

Original publication





Obes Rev

Publication Date



childhood overweight and obesity, cost-effectiveness, economic evaluation, systematic review