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The Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Reducing Obesity among Young Children through Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, and Screen Time

Preventing obesity in the early years, before poor diet and physical activity behaviors become entrenched and related chronic diseases develop, is an important public health action goal. While there is a clear need for early intervention, identifying what should be done is a harder task.


Researchers with the Childhood Obesity Intervention Cost-Effectiveness Study (CHOICES) at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health are working to identify the childhood obesity interventions that are the best value for money.

Healthy Eating Research partnered with researchers from the CHOICES project to review what is known so far about the health impact and cost-effectiveness of different strategies to prevent obesity in young children (ages 0-5).

Key findings:

  • To do a cost-effectiveness analysis of a strategy, we need strong evidence for how much that strategy can reduce the risk of obesity for children. We need more evidence on the obesity impact of programs for young children to know whether they are a good value for money spent.
  • Given what we currently know, the Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC) is the best value for money spent among strategies that focus on young children in early care and education settings

Read the issue brief to learn more about what strategies currently have an impact on very young children, the relative cost-effectiveness of these strategies, and what we still need to know for informed decision-making.