10 Gaps in the evidence
The Public Health Advisory Committee (PHAC) identified a number of gaps in the evidence related to the programmes under examination based on an assessment of the evidence, stakeholder process and fieldwork. These gaps are set out below.
1. High quality controlled and randomised controlled studies on exercise referral schemes.
2. Effectiveness and cost effectiveness evidence on the effect of exercise referral schemes on people with multiple health conditions.
3. Effectiveness and cost effectiveness evidence on the effect of exercise referral schemes on mental health.
4. Effectiveness and cost effectiveness evidence on whether physical activity levels are maintained in the long term after attendance at an exercise referral scheme.
5. Information about the different types or models of exercise referral scheme and for whom each type may be most effective.
6. Information about how practitioners identify whether or not someone should be referred for a physical activity intervention, including exercise referral.
7. Information on factors that:
a) encourage participation in physical activity during and after an exercise referral scheme
b) prevent or reduce the risk of drop out by those referred to such schemes.
8. Information about levels of participation by under-represented groups, such as people from black and minority ethnic groups and people with disabilities.
9. Information about all the short- and long-term benefits of exercise referral schemes. This includes the 'feel good' factor (process utility).
10. Information about measures and outputs to use to establish the effectiveness of exercise referral schemes.
The Committee made 5 recommendations for research into areas that it believes will be a priority for developing future guidelines. These are listed in recommendations for research.