Background: Although there is a growing number of early childhood obesity prevention programs, only a few of them are effective in the long run. Even fewer reports exist on lifetime cost-effectiveness of early prevention strategies. This paper aimed to assess the lifetime cost-effectiveness of infant feeding modification aiming at reducing risk of later obesity. Methods: The simulation model consists of two parts: (a) Model I used data from the European Childhood Obesity Project (CHOP) trial (up to 6 years) and the German Interview and Examination Survey for Children (KiGGS) (6–17 years) to evaluate BMI trajectories of infants receiving either lower protein (LP) or higher protein (HP) content formula; and (b) Model II estimated lifetime cost-effectiveness based on Model I BMI trajectories. Compared to HP formula, LP formula feeding would incur lower costs that are attributable to childhood obesity across all decades of life. Results: Our analysis showed that LP formula would be cost-effective in terms of a positive net monetary benefit (discounted 3%) as an obesity prevention strategy. For the 19% of infants fed with formula in Germany, the LP strategy would result in cost savings of € 2.5 billion. Conclusions: Our study is one of the first efforts to provide much-needed cost-effectiveness evidence of infant feeding modification, thereby potentially motivating interventionists to reassess their resource allocation.
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