A new study aims to estimate the 10-year cost-effectiveness of school-based BMI report cards, a commonly implemented program for childhood obesity prevention in the US.
Poole MK, Gortmaker SL, Barrett JL, McCulloch SM, Rimm EB, Emmons KM, Ward ZJ, Kenney EL. The societal costs and health impacts on obesity of BMI report cards in US schools. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2023 Aug;31(8):2110-2118. doi: 10.1002/oby.23788. Epub 2023 Jul 3.
Objective: This study aimed to estimate the 10-year cost-effectiveness of school-based BMI report cards, a commonly implemented program for childhood obesity prevention in the US where student BMI is reported to parents/guardians by letter with nutrition and physical activity resources, for students in grades 3 to 7.
Methods: A microsimulation model, using data inputs from evidence reviews on health impacts and costs, estimated: how many students would be reached if the 15 states currently measuring student BMI (but not reporting to parents/guardians) implemented BMI report cards from 2023 to 2032; how many cases of childhood obesity would be prevented; expected changes in childhood obesity prevalence; and costs to society.
Results: BMI report cards were projected to reach 8.3 million children with overweight or obesity (95% uncertainty interval [UI]: 7.7-8.9 million) but were not projected to prevent any cases of childhood obesity or significantly decrease childhood obesity prevalence. Ten-year costs totaled $210 million (95% UI: $30.5-$408 million) or $3.33 per child per year with overweight or obesity (95% UI: $3.11-$3.68).
Conclusions: School-based BMI report cards are not cost-effective childhood obesity interventions. Deimplementation should be considered to free up resources for implementing effective programs.
The JPB Foundation; National Cancer Institute, Grant/Award Number: 3P50CA244433; National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Grant/Award Number:DK 007703-22; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Grant/Award Number: 2833590; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Grant/Award Number: 1F31HL162250-01A1.