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01.12.2014 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

BMC Health Services Research 1/2014

The cost of a primary care-based childhood obesity prevention intervention

BMC Health Services Research > Ausgabe 1/2014
Davene R Wright, Elsie M Taveras, Matthew W Gillman, Christine M Horan, Katherine H Hohman, Steven L Gortmaker, Lisa A Prosser
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

EMT, MWG, SLG, LAP, and DRW were responsible for the study concept and design. EMT, MWG, KHH, and CMH were responsible for the acquisition of data. DRW was responsible for the analysis and interpretation of data and drafted the manuscript. All authors reviewed the manuscript for intellectual content and approved the final manuscript.



United States pediatric guidelines recommend that childhood obesity counseling be conducted in the primary care setting. Primary care-based interventions can be effective in improving health behaviors, but also costly. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the cost of a primary care-based obesity prevention intervention targeting children between the ages of two and six years who are at elevated risk for obesity, measured against usual care.


High Five for Kids was a cluster-randomized controlled clinical trial that aimed to modify children’s nutrition and TV viewing habits through a motivational interviewing intervention. We assessed visit-related costs from a societal perspective, including provider-incurred direct medical costs, provider-incurred equipment costs, parent time costs and parent out-of-pocket costs, in 2011 dollars for the intervention (n = 253) and usual care (n = 192) groups. We conducted a net cost analysis using both societal and health plan costing perspectives and conducted one-way sensitivity and uncertainty analyses on results.


The total costs for the intervention group and usual care groups in the first year of the intervention were $65,643 (95% CI [$64,522, $66,842]) and $12,192 (95% CI [$11,393, $13,174]). The mean costs for the intervention and usual care groups were $259 (95% CI [$255, $264]) and $63 (95% CI [$59, $69]) per child, respectively, for a incremental difference of $196 (95% CI [$191, $202]) per child. Children in the intervention group attended a mean of 2.4 of a possible 4 in-person visits and received 0.45 of a possible 2 counseling phone calls. Provider-incurred costs were the primary driver of cost estimates in sensitivity analyses.


High Five for Kids was a resource-intensive intervention. Further studies are needed to assess the cost-effectiveness of the intervention relative to other pediatric obesity interventions.

Trial registration Identifier: NCT00377767.
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