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What are the most effective ways of promoting physical exercise in adults?
Date:7/13/2009

A study published this week in the open access journal PLoS Medicine has found that of six interventions promoting exercise in adults in Australia, encouraging the use of pedometers simple step counting devices that can be used as a motivational tool and promoting physical activity through mass media campaigns are the most cost-effective in terms of the money spent for the health benefits they result in. Considered as a package, researchers at the University of Queensland also conclude that these six interventions could reduce death and illness from heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes in Australia, with an overall cost saving for the health sector.

Despite its image as a sporting nation, physical inactivity in Australia, in common with many countries in the developed world and an increasing number of developing countries, is a major public health problem. The World Health Organisation recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity which could just be brisk walking five times per week, but at least 60% of Australia's population does not even do this modest amount. In Australia, physical inactivity leads to 10% of all deaths, largely as a result of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and globally it is thought to cause 1.9 million deaths per year.

Linda Cobiac and colleagues at the University of Queensland reviewed the medical literature to identify a range of interventions to promote physical activity and transport use in adults, which had evidence of effectiveness and which were suitable programs to implement in Australia. They then calculated the cost-effectiveness of six interventions. These included TravelSmart a program that targeted households in Australia with information about walking paths, bus timetables, and offered incentives to reduce reliance on the car. The six interventions also included two that involved general practitioners (GPs): the standard practice amongst GPs in Australia to screen and p
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Contact: Andrew Hyde
press@plos.org
44-122-346-3330
Public Library of Science
Source:Eurekalert

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