Abstract 3623: An Economic Evaluation of the COUNTERWEIGHT Programme in the United Kingdom
Background The Counterweight Programme enables primary care health professionals to provide effective, evidence-based approaches to weight management. The Counterweight Programme was evaluated between 2000 –2005 and shown to be a clinically effective intervention for weight management. This study considers the economic effectiveness of Counterweight from the perspective of a health service payer in the United Kingdom.
Methods An economic evaluation of Counterweight was undertaken using an existing model developed to provide input to the NICE Clinical Guidelines on Obesity. The model examines the impact of weight loss interventions on health outcomes and costs. The model incorporates the relationship between weight gain and the increased risk of developing a range of conditions associated with weight gain. The analysis compared the costs and outcomes of Counterweight compared to no active intervention.
Results Mean weight loss induced by Counterweight was extracted from previously published findings on the programme. The cost per patient of the Counterweight programme was derived from an unpublished analysis of the budgetary impact of implementing Counterweight. The base case analysis considered average weight loss of 3kg following 1 year on the Counterweight programme which was assumed to be regained over 2 years following removal of the programme. In this scenario, the Counterweight programme proved to be the dominant option (that is more effective and less costly than the no active intervention comparator). The results show a QALY gain of 0.056 with a reduction in costs of £473 per patient. These findings are robust to sensitivity analysis.
Discussion Findings published to date show that almost half the cost (41%) of Counterweight can be offset in the first year of the programme through reduced prescribing costs. The findings of this current research suggest that the entire costs of the Counterweight programme can be offset in the longer term, due to reductions in the risk of developing obesity related illnesses and their associated costs. This is based on a conservative scenario which assumes that any weight loss is regained following withdrawal of the intervention. These findings are expected to be relevant to settings outside of the United Kingdom.