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Public Health


We examined the costs of a physical activity (PA) and an educational comparison intervention. 424 older adults at risk for mobility disability were randomly assigned to either condition. The PA program consisted of center-based exercise sessions 3x weekly for 8 weeks, 2x weekly for weeks 9 to 24 and weekly behavioral counseling for 10 weeks. Optional sessions were offered during maintenance weeks (25-52). The comparison intervention consisted of weekly education meetings for 24 weeks, and then monthly for 6 months. Cost analyses were conducted from the "payer's" perspective, with a 1-year time horizon. Intervention costs were estimated by tracking personnel activities and materials used for each intervention and multiplying by national unit cost averages. The average cost/participant was $1134 and $175 for the PA and the comparison interventions, respectively. A preliminary cost/effectiveness analysis gauged the cost/disability avoided to be $28,206. Costs for this PA program for older adults are comparable to those of other PA interventions. The results are preliminary and a longer study is required to fully assess the costs and health benefits of these interventions.

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