Cost-effectiveness of a programme to address sedentary behavior in older adults: results from the SITLESS RCT

Manuela Deidda, Laura Coll-Planas, Mark Tully, Maria Giné-Garriga, Frank Kee, Marta Roqué i Figuls, Nicole Blackburn, Míriam Guerra-Balic, Dietrich Rothenbacher, Dhayana Dallmeier, Paolo Caserotti, Mathias Skjodt

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This study details the within-trial economic evaluation and long term economic model of SITLESS, a multi-country, three-armed randomised controlled trial comparing a combined intervention of exercise referral schemes (ERS) enhanced by self-management strategies (SMS) against ERS alone and usual care (UC).
A cost-utility analysis, conducted from the base-case perspective of the National Health Service and personal and social services, estimated the incremental cost per incremental quality-adjusted life year (QALY) and years in full capability (YFC). A secondary analysis combined the costs with a broad set of outcomes within a cost-consequence framework, from a societal perspective. A Markov-type decision-analytic model was developed to project short-term changes in physical activity to long term outcomes and costs, over a 5 and 15 year time horizon.
The results of the within-trial analysis show that SMS+ERS is highly likely to be cost effective compared to ERS alone (ICER €4270/QALY), but not compared to UC. Participants allocated to the SMS+ERS group also showed an improvement in YFC compared to ERS alone and UC. The long-term analysis revealed that SMS+ERS is likely to be a cost-effective option compared to ERS and UC over 5-year, but not with a 15 year horizon, being then dominated by ERS alone.
This research provides new evidence that SMS is a cost-effective add-on to ERS strategies. This economic evaluation informs the case for further, cost-effective, refinement of lifestyle change programmes targeted to older adults, with the aim of ultimately reducing the impact of non-communicable diseases in this population.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation
programme under grant agreement number 634 270.


  • cost effectiveness
  • healthy aging
  • exercise
  • public health
  • Europe


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