Background: Different studies have reported the effectiveness of Web-based computer-tailored lifestyle interventions, but economic evaluations of these interventions are scarce.
Objective: The objective was to assess the cost-effectiveness and cost-utility of a sequential and a simultaneous Web-based computer-tailored lifestyle intervention for adults compared to a control group.
Methods: The economic evaluation, conducted from a societal perspective, was part of a 2-year randomized controlled trial including 3 study groups. All groups received personalized health risk appraisals based on the guidelines for physical activity, fruit intake, vegetable intake, alcohol consumption, and smoking. Additionally, respondents in the sequential condition received personal advice about one lifestyle behavior in the first year and a second behavior in the second year; respondents in the simultaneous condition received personal advice about all unhealthy behaviors in both years. During a period of 24 months, health care use, medication use, absenteeism from work, and quality of life (EQ-5D-3L) were assessed every 3 months using Web-based questionnaires. Demographics were assessed at baseline, and lifestyle behaviors were assessed at both baseline and after 24 months. Cost-effectiveness and cost-utility analyses were performed based on the outcome measures lifestyle factor (the number of guidelines respondents adhered to) and quality of life, respectively. We accounted for uncertainty by using bootstrapping techniques and sensitivity analyses.
Results: A total of 1733 respondents were included in the analyses. From a willingness to pay of €4594 per additional guideline met, the sequential intervention (n=552) was likely to be the most cost-effective, whereas from a willingness to pay of €10,850, the simultaneous intervention (n=517) was likely to be most cost-effective. The control condition (n=664) appeared to be preferred with regard to quality of life.
Conclusions: Both the sequential and the simultaneous lifestyle interventions were likely to be cost-effective when it concerned the lifestyle factor, whereas the control condition was when it concerned quality of life. However, there is no accepted cutoff point for the willingness to pay per gain in lifestyle behaviors, making it impossible to draw firm conclusions. Further economic evaluations of lifestyle interventions are needed.
Trial Registration: Dutch Trial Register NTR2168; http://www.trialregister.nl/trialreg/admin/rctview.asp?TC=2168
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