Taking a local government perspective for economic evaluation of a population-level programme to promote exercise

Paolo Candio, David Meads, Andrew Hill, Laura Bojke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In order to tackle the issue of physical inactivity, local governments have implemented population-level programmes to promote exercise. While evidence is accumulating on the cost-effectiveness of these interventions, studies have typically adopted a health sector perspective for economic evaluation. This approach has been challenged as it does not allow for key concerns by local governments, which are primary stakeholders, to be addressed.

To show how taking a local government perspective for economic evaluation can be implemented in practice and this may affect the economic conclusions.

Based on data from a case study, the health equity impact of the intervention and its opportunity cost from a service provider viewpoint were assessed. The cost-effectiveness implications of a change in perspective were subsequently estimated by means of scenario analysis.

The intervention was found to provide adult residents living in the most deprived city areas with greater health benefits compared with the rest of the population. However, a negative net equity impact was found in the short-term. The opportunity cost of the intervention was estimated to be substantially lower than its financial cost (£2.77 per person/year), with significant implications for decision-making.

Taking a local government perspective can affect the conclusions drawn from the economic evaluation of population-level programmes to promote exercise, and therefore influence decision making.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-657
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number5
Early online date4 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

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