Cost analysis of a childcare center-based intervention to prevent obesity in the preschool years

Kathryn McCollister, Davina V. Tolbert, Subodh Mishra, Ruby A Natale, Susan Uhlhorn, Sarah Messiah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: In the United States, 17% of children are considered obese, and the economic burden of obesity and related conditions are concerning. Healthy Caregivers-Healthy Children (HC2) is an early childcare center-based obesity prevention trial among ethnically diverse children and families. Objectives: To better understand the economic impact of early childhood obesity prevention efforts, this study conducted a cost analysis of the HC2intervention and estimated the potential lifetime cost-savings of HC2from reducing childhood obesity. Patients and Methods: Economic analyses estimated the direct intervention costs and the projected lifetime medical cost savings from preventing childhood obesity. Cost data were collected using detailed staffing and financial records, from the HC2study investigators. Resources were organized into four main categories: personnel costs, contractors, supplies and equipment, and miscellaneous expenditures. Costs were estimated separately for the two phases of the intervention: Year 1 and Years 2 - 3. Results: The total cost of HC2intervention was 206319 $. The average cost per child in Year 1 was 113.90 $. The average cost per child for the booster sessions, in Years 2 and 3 was 29.02 $ per year. Average cost per child throughout the intervention was 172 $. If HC2 generates just a 1% reduction in obesity, lifetime savings would be of approximately 228000 $, with net savings of 21681 $, over the three years of the intervention. The average (per child) net savings across all HC2participants range from 18 $, if 1% of participants avoid obesity, to 1728 $, if 10% avoid obesity. Conclusions: The HC2intervention shows potential for generating cost savings. Cost analyses of programs of this type are helpful to policymakers and program planners to allocate resources for obesity prevention programs in school and childcare settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere25845
JournalJournal of Comprehensive Pediatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015


  • Children
  • Early childhood
  • Family
  • Obesity
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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