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Does a population-based multifactorial lifestyle intervention increase social inequality in physical activity? The Inter99 study
  1. M Aadahl1,
  2. L von Huth Smith1,
  3. U Toft1,
  4. C Pisinger1,
  5. T Jørgensen1,2
  1. 1Research Centre for Prevention and Health, Building 84/85, Glostrup University Hospital, DK-2600 Glostrup, Denmark
  2. 2Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Mette Aadahl, Research Centre for Prevention and Health, Building 84/85, Glostrup University Hospital, DK-2600 Glostrup, Denmark; metaad01{at}


Aim To examine the effect of a multifactorial lifestyle intervention on 5-year change in physical activity (PA) and to explore whether length of education had an impact on the effect of the intervention.

Methods Two random samples (high intervention group A, n=11 708; low intervention group B, n=1308) were invited for a health examination, assessment of absolute risk of ischemic heart disease and individual lifestyle counselling. The participation rate was 52.5%. High-risk individuals in group A were also offered group-based counselling on diet and PA and/or smoking cessation. High-risk individuals in group B were referred to usual care. All high-risk individuals were reinvited for examination and counselling after 1 and 3 years, and all participants were reexamined after 5 years. The control group (group C, n=5264, response rate 61.1%) answered a mailed questionnaire. Change in self-reported PA from baseline to 5-year follow-up was the main outcome. Level of education was classified as no vocational training, ≤4 years and >4 years. Data were analysed using longitudinal linear regression models with random intercepts.

Results In men, the high-intensity intervention had a beneficial effect on PA level after 5 years. The age- or time-related decrease in PA was approximately 30 min/week less compared to men in the control group (p<0.0001). Level of education had no significant impact on the effect of the intervention neither in men (p=0.39) nor in women (p=0.32).

Conclusion A population-based multifactorial lifestyle intervention did not influence social inequality in PA.

Keywords Lifestyle, Exercise, Randomised Intervention Study, Ischemic Heart Disease, Socioeconomic Position.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the local ethics committee of Copenhagen County (KA 98155).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.