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The impact of a park refurbishment in a low socioeconomic area on physical activity: a cost-effectiveness study

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posted on 08.03.2019, 00:00 authored by Anita LalAnita Lal, Marj MoodieMarj Moodie, Gavin AbbottGavin Abbott, Alison Carver, Jo SalmonJo Salmon, Billie Giles-Corti, Anna TimperioAnna Timperio, Jenny VeitchJenny Veitch
BACKGROUND: Physical inactivity is the fourth highest cause of death globally and is a major contributor to increases in healthcare expenditure. Improving public open spaces such as parks in areas of low socio-economic position (SEP) may increase recreational physical activity in disadvantaged populations. We assessed the cost-effectiveness of the installation of a play-space in a large metropolitan park in a low socioeconomic area based on changes in physical activity. METHODS: Observational data of visitor counts and activities undertaken in the park before the installation of the new play-scape (T1), at two months (T2) and 14 months post-installation (T3) were obtained for the intervention and a control park (with no refurbishment) located in a high SEP metropolitan area. Observed sitting, standing, and moderate and vigorous-intensity physical activity were converted to yearly MET-h according to age. Costs of the play-scape and ongoing maintenance were obtained from the organisation managing the refurbishment. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) (ratio of incremental cost to incremental effect) was calculated based on the incremental increase in MET-h from T1 to T3 assuming a 20-year lifetime of the play-scape. Observation counts combining moderate and vigorous activity were used in the sensitivity analysis. RESULTS: When compared with T1, at T3 the new play-scape resulted in an overall incremental net gain of 114,114 MET-h (95% UI: 80,476 - 146,096) compared with the control park and an incremental cost effectiveness ratio (or cost per MET-h gained per park visitor) of AUD $0.58 (95% UI: $0.44-$0.80). The sensitivity analysis combining moderate and vigorous activity into one category showed an increase in estimated incremental MET-h of 118,190 (95% CI: 83,528 - 149,583) and a lower incremental cost per MET-h gained of AUD $0.56 (95% UI: $0.43-$0.77). CONCLUSIONS: Using a benchmark of cost-effectiveness for physical activity interventions of AUD $0.60-$1.30, this study suggests that the installation of a play-scape located in a low SEP area is cost-effective based on its potential to facilitate increases in MET-h. It provides much needed preliminary evidence and requires replication elsewhere.



International journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity



Article number



1 - 8


BioMed Central


London, Eng.





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2019, The Author(s)