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Life style including dietary habits and physical activity is an important determinate for health of individuals and populations. Healthcare systems concerned about improving health should thus consider measures to change the present situation. But resources are scarce and such measures will compete with other potential activities for prevention and treatments that also improve health. Cost-utility analysis is a method that can be used to compare different interventions in terms of costs and outcome. This method, usually included in a comprehensive Health Technology Assessment (HTA), is standard in many countries to inform decisions to allocate resources for drugs and other medical technologies. Promoters of patented and chargeable technologies have incentives and resources to supply such evidence.
The paper by Eriksson and colleagues is admirable in the respect that it makes the argument for increased resources for prevention in primary care through life style changes, using the methods of outcomes research and economic evaluation. But will their study convince the …