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Economic analysis of physical activity interventions
  1. Christopher Michael Williams1,
  2. Chung-Wei Christine Lin1,
  3. Stephen Jan2
  1. 1Musculoskeletal Division, The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2School of Public Health, The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Christopher Michael Williams, The George Institute for Global Health, Musculoskeletal Division, 7/341 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia; cwilliams{at}

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Physical activity (PA) is beneficial for general health and the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. Interventions to increase PA range from community-wide interventions such as mass media campaigns to individual interventions such as behaviour change programmes. Previous systematic reviews have investigated the effectiveness of these interventions,1,,4 but information on the relative cost effectiveness (ie, the costs per unit of benefit gained) of the interventions is limited.


To provide a systematic review of interventions to increase PA and to calculate their cost effectiveness.

Searches and inclusion criteria

Seven databases were searched for relevant studies published between 2000 and June 2008. Studies included in two systematic reviews1 4 were also considered. The review was restricted to published trials designed to promote PA in healthy individuals. Eligible studies were those that included 50 participants or more and reported an effective PA intervention with an outcome that could be translated into metabolic equivalent (MET) hours gained per person per day. Methodological quality was assessed using a nine-item measure.


Interventions were categorised into six broad categories: …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.