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 3× weekly for 8 weeks, 2× 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.
Groessl is with the Dept of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California–San Diego, CA. Kaplan is with the Dept of Health Services, University of California—Los Angeles, CA. Blair is with the Dept of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. Rejeski and Katula are with the Dept of Health and Exercise Science, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC. King is with the Dept of Health Research & Policy and Medicine, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA. Fielding is with the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology, and Sarcopenia Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA. Glynn is with the Dept of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, PA. Pahor is with the Dept of Aging and Geriatric Research, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.