Public efforts to promote exercise work

Nov. 14, 2008 at 5:43 PM
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ATLANTA, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Community-based physical activities to promote more active lifestyles among adults are cost-effective in reducing chronic illnesses, U.S. officials said.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation used an economic model developed to assess the cost-effectiveness of community-based physical activity interventions.

Researchers found that community-based physical activity programs appeared to reduce new cases of disease by: 5-15 cases per 100,000 people for colon cancer; 15-58 cases per 100,000 for breast cancer; 59-207 cases per 100,000 for type 2 diabetes and 140-476 cases per 100,000 for heart disease.

Community-based physical activity interventions broadly fall under the following strategies:

-- Community campaigns via TV/radio, newspapers, billboards, advertisements.

-- Social support networks such as exercise groups to encourage behavior change.

-- Tailored behavior change to encourage people to set physical activity goals and monitor their progress.

-- Enhanced access to fitness centers, bike paths and walking trails.

The study, published in the online version of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found public health strategies that promote physical activity are cost effective and offer good value for the money spent.

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