Economic evaluation of weight loss interventions in overweight and obese women

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2006 Jun;14(6):1093-106. doi: 10.1038/oby.2006.125.


Objective: To conduct a clinical and economic evaluation of outpatient weight loss strategies in overweight and obese adult U.S. women.

Research methods and procedures: This study was a lifetime cost-use analysis from a societal perspective, using a first-order Monte Carlo simulation. Strategies included routine primary care and varying combinations of diet, exercise, behavior modification, and/or pharmacotherapy. Primary data were collected to assess program costs and obesity-related quality of life. Other data were obtained from clinical trials, population-based surveys, and other published literature. This was a simulated cohort of healthy 35-year-old overweight and obese women in the United States.

Results: For overweight and obese women, a three-component intervention of diet, exercise, and behavior modification cost 12,600 US dollars per quality-adjusted life year gained compared with routine care. All other strategies were either less effective and more costly or less effective and less cost-effective compared with the next best alternative. Results were most influenced by obesity-related effects on quality of life and the probabilities of weight loss maintenance.

Discussion: A multidisciplinary weight loss program consisting of diet, exercise, and behavior modification provides good value for money, but more research is required to confirm the impacts of such programs on quality of life and the likelihood of long-term weight loss maintenance.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / economics
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / therapeutic use
  • Computer Simulation
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Diet, Reducing / economics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Obesity / economics*
  • Overweight*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • United States
  • Weight Loss*


  • Anti-Obesity Agents