August 20, 2019
A study co-authored by Michele Polacsek, Ph.D., M.H.S., professor in the Public Health program, and Pamela Bruno, M.P.H., senior research associate in the Center for Excellence in Health Innovation, was recently published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, a global resource for professionals with an interest in nutrition education.
The study, titled “Cost-Effectiveness Analysis and Stakeholder Evaluation of 2 Obesity Prevention Policies in Maine, U.S.,” evaluates the potential cost-effectiveness of a sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) excise tax and a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) policy that would not allow SSB purchases in Maine.
The study used a cost-effectiveness simulation model of the Maine population in 2015 combined with stakeholder interviews in Maine conducted from 2013 to 2017. Over 10 years, the SSB and SNAP policies were projected to reduce health care costs by $78.3 million and $15.3 million, respectively.
The study also examined stakeholder perspectives on the excise tax and SNAP policy. Stakeholders were more supportive of SSB taxes than the SNAP policy because of equity concerns associated with the SNAP policy.
The cost-effectiveness analysis provided evidence of potential health improvement and cost savings to state-level stakeholders weighing broader implementation considerations.