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Mixed-method evaluation of a community-wide physical activity program in Launceston, Australia


Byrne, LK and Ogden, K and Lee, S and Ahuja, K and Watson, G and Bauman, A and Fell, J, Mixed-method evaluation of a community-wide physical activity program in Launceston, Australia, Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 30, (S1) pp. 104-115. ISSN 2201-1617 (2019) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 Australian Health Promotion Association. This is the peer reviewed version of the article, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

DOI: doi:10.1002/hpja.241


Issue addressed: Physical inactivity is a leading risk factor for disease burden and premature mortality. Interventions to increase physical activity are common, though few examples of multi‐strategy, wide‐scale community programs exist. Active Launceston is a community‐wide program aimed at improving health and well‐being through physical activity. We report on the process evaluation of Active Launceston and changes in community physical activity participation between 2008 and 2015, as a measure of program effectiveness.

Methods: Mixed‐method evaluation of Active Launceston combined process evaluation - consisting of participant numbers, socio‐demographic characteristics, campaign awareness, focus groups and stakeholder interviews - with impact evaluation consisting of a random‐sample cross‐sectional serial telephone survey.

Results: Active Launceston attracted 11 887 attendees, participating in 30 342 sessions, amounting to 38 088 hours of physical activity between 2008 and 2015. Participant focus groups highlighted benefits including increased engagement in exercise, better health and social connectedness. While telephone surveys found the proportion of people participating in any physical activity in the last 12 months to be similar between the 3 years (2008, 77.7%; 2012, 77.1%; 2015, 73.6%), a higher proportion participated in vigorous physical activity in 2012 and 2015 compared to 2008 (P < 0.01), when adjusting for age and gender differences. A higher proportion also achieved sufficient activity for health in 2015 compared to 2008 (P = 0.01).

Conclusions: Mixed‐method evaluation suggests Active Launceston is an effective community‐wide program supporting community members to engage in regular physical activity and increase levels of social engagement.

So what? This work provides a model for implementing high‐reach, community‐wide interventions that improve physical activity outcomes.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:community based intervention, health behaviours, health equity, local government, mass media, health promotion, physical activity, community health
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Public health
Research Field:Health promotion
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Behaviour and health
UTAS Author:Byrne, LK (Mrs Lucy Byrne)
UTAS Author:Ogden, K (Dr Kathryn Ogden)
UTAS Author:Lee, S (Dr Simone Lee)
UTAS Author:Ahuja, K (Dr Kiran Ahuja)
UTAS Author:Watson, G (Dr Greig Watson)
UTAS Author:Fell, J (Associate Professor James Fell)
ID Code:131848
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:UTAS Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2019-04-09
Last Modified:2022-03-28
Downloads:14 View Download Statistics

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