Cost-of-illness studies and cost-effectiveness analyses in eating disorders: a systematic review

Int J Eat Disord. 2012 May;45(4):476-91. doi: 10.1002/eat.20977. Epub 2012 Feb 1.


Objective: To review cost-of-illness studies (COIs) and cost-effectiveness analyses (CEAs) of eating disorders (EDs) and to describe their methodological quality.

Method: A systematic literature search was done. Search results passed through a selection process, included studies were classified as COIs, CEAs, or "other cost studies" (OCS). Costs were inflated and converted to 2008 US$ purchasing power parities (PPP). Quality criteria were developed and applied to each study.

Results: Five COI, two CEA, and eleven "OCS" were reviewed. Most studies focused on anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Annual costs per patient ranged from 1,288 to 8,042 US$-PPP. All interventions, investigated in CEA, were more effective and less costly than the alternative treatments.

Discussion: The number of publications investigating costs in EDs has increased recently. However, no COI provided a comprehensive estimate of costs, and the comparability of CEA was limited. Nonetheless, the results indicate that the costs arising from EDs are substantial.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost of Illness*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / economics*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / therapy
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Humans