To use contingent valuation (CV) to derive individual consumer values for both health and broader benefits of a public-health intervention directed at lifestyle behaviour change (LBC) and to examine the feasibility and validity of the method.Method
Participants of a lifestyle intervention trial (n = 515) were invited to complete an online CV survey. Respondents (n = 312) expressed willingness to invest money and time for changes in life expectancy, health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and broader quality of life aspects. Internal validity was tested for by exploring associations between explanatory variables (i.e. income, paid work, experience and risk factors for cardiovascular diseases) and willingness to invest, and by examining ordering effects and respondents' sensitivity to the scope of the benefits.Results
The majority of respondents (94.3%) attached value to benefits of LBC, and 87.4% were willing to invest both money and time. Respondents were willing to invest more for improvements in HRQOL (€42/month; 3 h/week) and broader quality of life aspects (€40/month; 2.6 h/week) than for improvements in life expectancy (€24/month; 2 h/week). Protest answers were limited (3%) and findings regarding internal validity were mixed.Conclusion
The importance of broader quality of life outcomes to consumers suggests that these outcomes are relevant to be considered in the decision making. Our research showed that CV is a feasible method to value both health and broader outcomes of LBC, but generalizability to other areas of public health still needs to be examined. Mixed evidence regarding internal validity pleads for caution to use CV as only the base for decision making.