Background and aims Global prevalence of obesity has doubled the last 30 years, with WHO estimating that 10% of men and 14% of women worldwide are obese. The corresponding health risk is associated with a significant health system cost, loss of health related quality of life, and economic costs such as reduced productivity. Obesity in adulthood is the result of several factors, including weight gain during infanthood. The objective of this paper is to demonstrate the impact on infant weight gain and economic value of low protein nutritional formula compared with standard protein nutritional formula.
Methods A double blind, randomised, controlled trial of 252 healthy infants born of overweight or obese mothers estimated the impact of formula onweight gain up to 36 months. A discrete event simulation estimated the corresponding impact on adult BMI, the incidence of obesity-related diseasesand consequent lifetime changes in health care resources use, health related quality of life (HRQoL), and productivity.
Results Low protein infant formula reduced weight gain at 36 months by 0.31 kg (from 16.04 kg with standard formula to 15.74 kg with low protein formula). The simulation estimates the corresponding changes in the following outcomes over infants’ lifetimes: a BMI; incidence of diabetes, stroke, CHD; health care costs, HRQoL and productivity.
Conclusions The use of low protein formula for infants of overweight orobese mothers not only reduces infant weight gain, but also generates lifetime improvements in quality of life, health cost savings and improvements in productivity.