No evidence of effectiveness of community-wide interventions for increasing physical activity

Clinical question: 
How effective are community-wide, multi-strategic interventions in increasing physical activity?
Bottom line: 
The body of evidence in this review did not support the hypothesis that multi-component, community-wide interventions effectively increased population levels of physical activity. Almost all of the interventions included a component of building partnerships with local governments or non-government organisations. Many also employed some form of individual counselling by health professionals, mass media, or other forms of communication. Unfortunately, the most intense interventions failed to demonstrate consistent improvements. Further, effectiveness was not demonstrated in the long-term studies, which some shorter studies had recommended. There was also no evidence that adherence to a particular theoretical framework or model was advantageous.
Caveat: 
There was a noticeable inconsistency in the findings of the numerous available studies, and this was confounded by serious methodological issues (selection, detection and publication biases). In particular, the tools used to measure physical activity were generally weak, inhibiting the ability to interpret the results and draw conclusions.
Context: 
Insufficient physical activity leads to poorer health. Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of chronic disease and improve health and wellbeing. Multi-strategic, community-wide interventions for physical activity are increasingly popular, but their ability to achieve population-level improvements is unknown.
Review CD#: 
CD008366
PEARLS No: 
314
Date: 
June, 2011
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy