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BACKGROUND: Inadequate monitoring and participant profiling have so far prevented a detailed examination of who Physical Activity Referral Schemes (PARS) are accessible to and appropriate for. As a result, the nature of the role for PARS within public health is unknown. METHODS: Participants were all those referred to a countywide PARS during a three-year period (n = 3568). Participant age, gender and the deprivation level and rurality of their area of residence were compared with the average for the county population. Characteristics associated with referral uptake (attending > or =1 exercise session) and completion (> or =80% attendance), were identified using logistic regression. RESULTS: Compared with the county average, participants were older, more predominantly female (61.1 vs 51.4%) and lived in more deprived areas (p < 0.001). Referral uptake (n = 2864) was most likely in those aged 60-69 years, and least likely for residents of rural villages and the most deprived areas (all p < 0.001). For participants who took up referral, completion was most likely in men and the over-seventies (p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The PARS format may be inappropriate for younger adults or people living in relative deprivation and rural areas. They appear most appropriate for adults of middle-to-old age who are more likely to require supervision, and should be targeted accordingly.

Original publication

DOI

10.1093/pubmed/fdm002

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Public Health (Oxf)

Publication Date

06/2007

Volume

29

Pages

107 - 113

Keywords

Adolescent, Adult, Age Factors, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Child, Exercise, Female, Health Promotion, Humans, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Referral and Consultation, Sex Factors, Socioeconomic Factors