Pre-conference: What simulation modelling of obesity can be offered to policymakers and practitioners? How can we improve its contribution?

Wednesday 10 November, 09:00 - 12:40 CET

Organised by:

EUPHA Public health economics section and the Obesity Cobweb network


Diana Sonntag, Ivan Perry, Grace O’Malley, Rønnaug A. Ødegård, Claude Marcus , Samira B. Jabakhanji, Vidar Halsteinli, Michele Cecchini, Gudrun Maria Waaler Bjørnelv, Kevin P. Balanda


Policymakers and practitioners have struggled to control obesity through effective prevention and treatment of its consequences. A major reason for this is that effective control involves complex questions whose answers require collating and making sense of many different types of data. Economic simulation modelling is a statistical methodology that synthesises such complex data to estimate the current and future disease burden, associated economic costs and the effect of interventions on public health and clinical outcomes.

However; lack of transparency and understanding of simulation modelling and support for policymakers and practitioners has led to it being used sub-optimally. Significant improvements in data quality, modelling methods and knowledge translation are required before the full potential of this methodology can be realised. In early 2021 a small group of researchers and practitioners established a collaborative network called the Obesity Cobweb (COllaBoration in health economic modelling of OverWEight and oBesity) to address these issues (

In this pre-conference, we will first give an overview of simulation modelling, present a number of existing models and highlight the research and data needs of simulation modelling of obesity. We then present some exemplary examples of international collaboration, introduce the Obesity Cobweb network and discuss ways to improve the contribution of simulation modelling to improved obesity control.


Prior to the pre-conference, a registration survey will be distributed to conference delegates to focus the pre-conference on participants’ priorities. During the pre-conference, the interactive polling/voting functionality in the conference’s virtual platform will be used to engage with participants.

09:00 – 09:15

Welcome and opening

  • Overview of the pre-conference
  • Audience engagement

09:15 – 10:00

Economic simulation modelling of obesity

  • Introduction (the German Markov Obesity Model)
  • What simulation modelling can and can’t offer policymakers and practitioners 
  • Research, data and knowledge translation needs
  • Audience engagement

10:00 – 10:45

Examples of international collaboration

  • The OECD and its SPHeP Models
  • The Norwegian MOON Model: How it was developed
  • Other examples
  • Audience engagement

10:45 – 11:00

Coffee break

11:00 – 12:00

Making simulation modelling work better for us

  • Introduction to the Obesity Cobweb network
  • An international programme to address research, data and knowledge translation needs:
    • Framework for simulation modelling of obesity
    • Gaps list
  • Audience engagement

`12:00 – 12:30

Panel discussion: What’s to be done? What’s the way forward?

  • Audience engagement

12:30 – 12:40

Wrap up and an invitation to join the Obesity Cobweb network

Registration fee

The registration fee is € 50 (inclusive of VAT). Pre-conferences can  be added to your registration after you have already registered. You can do so by logging into your account and updating your registration. You will receive an adjusted invoice by email. You can also register for the pre-conference only.