Previous attempts to understand the value for money of preventative interventions targeting physically inactive individuals have proved to be challenging due to key methodological challenges associated with the conduct of economic evaluations in public health. The burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCD) on health systems worldwide is substantial. Physical inactivity and sedentary behavior are major risk factors for NCD. The review examines how economic evaluations published between 2009-March 2017 have addressed methodological challenges with the aim of bringing to light examples of good practice for future studies.
A systematic review was carried out across six databases (Medline, SPORTSDiscus, EconLit, PsychINFO, NHS EED, HTA) along with supplementary searches. The authors have exposed the scarcity of and inconsistencies across economic evaluations and exposed a mismatch between calls for more preventative action to tackle NCD and the lack of information available on how resources may be optimally allocated in practice. Consequently, this paper offers a table of recommendations on how future studies can be improved.