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BACKGROUND: PRIMEtime CE is a multistate life table model that can directly compare the cost effectiveness of public health interventions affecting diet and physical activity levels, helping to inform decisions about how to spend finite resources. This paper estimates the costs and health outcomes in England of two scenarios: reformulating salt and expanding subsidised access to leisure centres. The results are used to help validate PRIMEtime CE, following the steps outlined in the Assessment of the Validation Status of Health-Economic decision models (AdViSHE) tool. METHODS: The PRIMEtime CE model estimates the difference in quality adjusted life years (QALYs) and difference in NHS and social care costs of modelled interventions compared with doing nothing. The salt reformulation scenario models how salt consumption would change if food producers met the 2017 UK Food Standards Agency salt reformulation targets. The leisure centre scenario models change in physical activity levels if the Birmingham Be Active scheme (where swimming pools and gym access is free to residents during defined periods) was rolled out across England. The AdViSHE tool was developed by health economic modellers and divides model validation into five parts: validation of the conceptual model, input data validation, validation of computerised model, operational validation, and other validation techniques. PRIMEtime CE is discussed in relation to each part. RESULTS: Salt reformulation was dominant compared with doing nothing, and had a 10-year return on investment of £1.44 (£0.50 to £2.94) for every £1 spent. By contrast, over 10 years the Be Active expansion would cost £727,000 (£514,000 to £1,064,000) per QALY. PRIMEtime CE has good face validity of its conceptual model and has robust input data. Cross-validation produces mixed results and shows the impact of model scope, input parameters, and model structure on cost-per-QALY estimates. CONCLUSIONS: This paper illustrates how PRIMEtime CE can be used to compare the cost-effectiveness of two different public health measures affecting diet and physical activity levels. The AdViSHE tool helps to validate PRIMEtime CE, identifies some of the key drivers of model estimates, and highlights the challenges of externally validating public health economic models against independent data.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Health Serv Res

Publication Date





Diet, Economic modelling, Modelling, Non-communicable disease, Physical activity, Public health, Public health economics, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Cost-Benefit Analysis, England, Exercise, Female, Food, Humans, Leisure Activities, Male, Middle Aged, Models, Economic, National Health Programs, Public Health, Quality-Adjusted Life Years, Reproducibility of Results, Sodium, Dietary, State Medicine, Young Adult