Shortly after its 25th anniversary, Fondation OLO’s effectiveness and cost-efficiency were substantiated in a study by UQAM economics professors Catherine Haeck and Pierre Lefebvre. The article was originally published in Labour Economics in May 2016.
Here are a few of the study’s findings:
- OLO support helps reduce by 1.6 times the risk of babies having a low birth weight (i.e., under 5.5 lbs).
- Birth weight can have a critical impact on a child’s future, since babies born with a low birth weight are more likely to experience overall development delays or difficulties.
- On average, the weight of OLO babies is 70 grams higher than that of babies born in the same area and under the same socioeconomic conditions before the program’s implementation.
- For an average cost of $543 per baby, Fondation OLO enables savings of $600–$700 in hospital fees for problems related to low birth weights (the data used in the study are from 2005). Additionally, there are benefits to the child’s overall health over the medium and long terms.
- OLO follow-up care also has positive impacts on children’s educational success later on.
- OLO follow-up care is innovative and performs better than a similar program in the US.
This new evidence corroborates results on the method developed by the Higgins™ Nutrition Intervention Program, on which the OLO approach is based. The Higgins method, developed at the Montreal Diet Dispensary in the 1950s, has been proven efficient to reduce the number of babies with a low birth weight.
Other studies have also highlighted other beneficial effects of OLO interventions: increased consumption of fruit and vegetables and dairy products, lower incidence of anemia and postpartum depression, increased rates of breastfeeding, etc. (Hamza, O., 2003).