From 13th-17th July, 2019 four of us from Stream 3, Andrew Tan, Vicki Brown, Alison Hayes and myself (Anagha Killedar), travelled to Basel, Switzerland to attend the International Health Economics Association (iHEA) World Congress 2019 - a biennial conference that is well-attended by health economists from around the world. Between us, we had six oral presentations of which three were within organised sessions: one titled “Making the Best Choice: Outcome Selection for Economic Evaluation of Obesity Prevention and Treatment over the Life Course” and another titled “Does One Size Fit All? Methods and Considerations for Measuring Obesity-Related Quality of Life in Children and Adolescents.” All of our talks received a lot of interest from the audience!
One of the highlights of the conference was full-day pre-congress session on the Economics of Obesity. This was the first face to face meeting of iHEA’s special interest group on obesity attended by approximately 30 participants (see photo on right!). Early in the day we heard about research from Spain, United States, Australia, and the Netherlands on topics as wide-ranging as ‘sin taxes’, intergenerational transmission of body mass, the relationship between piped water and obesity prevention and the social return on investment of school-based diet and physical activity interventions. We then had a productive group-work session on the challenges of working on the economics of obesity and potential solutions. The latter half of the day was dedicated to an early-career researcher session in which senior economists presented and discussed draft manuscripts prepared by ECRs prior to the conference, and then the discussion was opened up to the wider group. I was lucky enough to have my manuscript on the relationship between weight status and preference-based quality of life in children selected for this and found it invaluable in deciding how to progress my current work.
Other highlights of the conference included a special organised session on health equity in economic evaluation, plenary sessions with impressive data visualisations, ECR drinks and mentoring sessions and the conference dinner at the very cool ‘Markethalle’. Overall, it was a really enjoyable and productive five days!