The efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a community weight management intervention: a randomized controlled trial of the health weight management demonstration

Prev Med. 2012 Jan;54(1):42-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.09.018. Epub 2011 Oct 6.


Purpose: The study investigated the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a cognitive-behavioral weight management program, complemented by an interactive Web site and brief telephone/e-mail coaching.

Methods: In 2006-2007, 1755 overweight, non-active-duty TRICARE beneficiaries were randomized to one of three conditions with increasing intervention intensity: written materials and basic Web access (RCT1), plus an interactive Web site (RCT2), plus brief telephone/e-mail coaching support (RCT3). The study assessed changes in weight, blood pressure, and physical activity from baseline to 6, 12, and 15-18 months. (Study retention was 31% at 12 months.) Average and incremental cost-effectiveness and cost-offset analyses were conducted.

Results: Participants experienced significant weight loss (-4.0%, -4.0%, and -5.3%, respectively, in each RCT group after 12 months and -3.5%, -3.8%, and -5.1%, respectively, after 15 to 18 months), increased physical activity, and decreased blood pressure. Cost-effectiveness ratios were $900 to $1100/quality-adjusted life year (QALY) for RCT1 and RCT2 and $1900/QALY for RCT3. The cost recovery period to the government was 3 years for RCTs 1 and 2 and 6 years for RCT3.

Conclusion: A relatively inexpensive cognitive-behavioral weight management intervention improved patient outcomes. Extrapolation of savings for the entire TRICARE population would significantly reduce direct medical costs.

Trial registration: NCT01307280.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / economics*
  • Community Networks / economics*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • United States
  • User-Computer Interface
  • Weight Reduction Programs / economics*
  • Weight Reduction Programs / standards*

Associated data