Exploring equity in primary-care-based physical activity interventions using PROGRESS-Plus: a systematic review and evidence synthesis.

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Attwood, S 
van Sluijs, E 

BACKGROUND: Little is known about equity effects in primary care based physical activity interventions. This review explored whether differences in intervention effects are evident across indicators of social disadvantage, specified under the acronym PROGRESS-Plus (place of residence, race/ethnicity, occupation, gender, religion, education, social capital, socioeconomic status, plus age, disability and sexual orientation). METHODS: Six bibliographic databases were systematically searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of physical activity interventions conducted in primary care. Harvest plots were used to synthesize findings from RCTs reporting subgroup or interaction analyses examining differences in intervention effects across levels of at least one PROGRESS-Plus factor. RESULTS: The search yielded 9052 articles, from which 173 eligible RCTs were identified. Despite PROGRESS-Plus factors being commonly measured (N = 171 RCTs), differential effect analyses were infrequently reported (N = 24 RCTs). Where reported, results of equity analyses suggest no differences in effect across levels or categories of place of residence (N = 1RCT), race (N = 4 RCTs), education (N = 3 RCTs), socioeconomic status (N = 3 RCTs), age (N = 16 RCTs) or disability (N = 2 RCTs). Mixed findings were observed for gender (N = 22 RCTs), with some interventions showing greater effect in men than women and others vice versa. Three RCTs examined indicators of social capital, with larger post-intervention differences in physical activity levels between trial arms found in those with higher baseline social support for exercise in one trial only. No RCTs examined differential effects by participant occupation, religion or sexual orientation. CONCLUSION: The majority of RCTs of physical activity interventions in primary care record sufficient information on PROGRESS-Plus factors to allow differential effects to be studied. However, very few actually report details of relevant analyses to determine which population subgroups may stand to benefit or be further disadvantaged by intervention efforts.

Equity, Intervention, Non-communicable diseases, Physical activity, Socio-economic inequalities, Trials, Exercise, Female, Health Equity, Health Promotion, Humans, Male, Primary Health Care, Socioeconomic Factors
Journal Title
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
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BioMed Central
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12015/7)
Wellcome Trust (087636/Z/08/Z)
Economic and Social Research Council (ES/G007462/1)
Medical Research Council (MR/K023187/1)
CCF (None)
The work was undertaken by the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), a UKCRC Public Health Research Centre of Excellence (RES-590-28-0002). Funding from the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council, the National Institute for Health Research, and the Wellcome Trust, under the auspices of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration, is gratefully acknowledged. The work was additionally supported by the Medical Research Council [Unit Programme number: MC_UU_12015/7].