Testing the Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions to Increase Physical Activity

Field of Work: Evaluating the effects of a proposed policy or project on the public's health using Health Impact Assessments (HIAs).

Problem Synopsis: A review of studies of population-based health promotion interventions, by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Task Force on Community Preventive Services resulted in a sizable body of evidence that public health efforts can increase physical activity. Yet, physical activity promotion has not reached its potential, and the majority of adults in the United States do not meet physical activity recommendations.

Synopsis of the Work: From 2003 to 2009, researchers at the CDC analyzed the cost-effectiveness of seven community-based interventions to promote physical activity in adults. They conducted HIAs of two projects and held workshops across the country to train people to conduct HIAs.

Key Findings

As reported in American Journal of Preventive Medicine, "All seven physical activity interventions appeared to reduce disease incidence, to be cost-effective and-compared with other well-accepted preventive strategies—to offer good value for money, with gains in both survival and health-related quality of life."