Comprehensive school health (CSH) programs have been recognized as a “best practice” in preventing childhood obesity and improving health behaviours among school age children. Despite this recognition, public health decision makers have been hesitant to invest in large scale implementation of CSH programs. Decision makers want evidence on the long-term benefits such as prevention of obesity throughout adulthood and reduction in chronic diseases, in addition to program costs and potential cost savings resulting from avoided health care costs.
To inform decision making on the economic implications of the Alberta Project Promoting active Living and healthy Eating in Schools (APPLE Schools) and to justify investment, we evaluated the project’s cost-effectiveness following a life-course approach.
We determined that school-based health promotion, such as APPLE Schools is a cost-effective intervention for obesity prevention and reduction of chronic disease risk over the lifetime. Expanding the coverage and allocating resources towards school-based programs like the APPLE Schools program, is likely to reduce the public health burden of obesity and chronic diseases.
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Ekwaru JP, Ohinmaa A, Tran BX, Setayeshgar S, Johnson JA, Veugelers PJ (2017) Cost-effectiveness of a school-based health promotion program in Canada: A life-course modeling approach. PLoS ONE 12(5): e0177848. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0177848