Physical activity coaching by Australian Exercise Physiologists is cost effective for patients referred from general practice

Ben Ewald*, Fiona Stacey, Natalie Johnson, Ronald C. Plotnikoff, Elizabeth Holliday, Wendy Brown, Erica L. James

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Interventions to promote physical activity for sedentary patients seen in general practice may be a way to reduce the burden of chronic disease. Coaching by an exercise physiologist is publicly funded in Australia, but cost effectiveness has not been documented. 

Methods: In a three-arm randomised controlled trial, face-to-face coaching and telephone coaching over 12 weeks were compared with a control group using the outcome of step count for one week at baseline, three months and twelve months. Program costs and time-based costs were considered. Quality of life was measured as a secondary outcome. 

Results: At 12 months, the intervention groups were more active than controls by 1,002 steps per day (95%CI 244, 1,759). This was achieved at a cost of AUD$245 per person. There was no change in reported quality of life or utility values. 

Conclusion: Coaching achieved a modest increase in activity equivalent to 10 minutes walking per day, at a cost of AUD$245 per person. Face-to-face and telephone counselling were both effective. 

Implication for public health: Persistence of increases nine months after the end of coaching suggests it creates long-term change and is a good value health intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-15
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Volume42
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes

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