About this guideline

What does this guideline cover?

This guideline is a partial update of four commonly used methods to increase physical activity, NICE public health guideline 2 (2006). It seeks to clarify the factors that influence referral to, attendance at and successful completion of an exercise referral scheme and longer term participation in physical activity.

The recommendations in the guideline replace recommendation 5 in 'Four commonly used methods to increase physical activity'.

This guideline does not provide detail on pedometers and community-based exercise programmes for walking and cycling.

The absence of any recommendations on interventions that fall within the scope of this guideline is a result of lack of evidence. It should not be taken as a judgement on whether they are cost effective.

How was this guideline developed?

The recommendations are based on the best available evidence. They were developed by the Public Health Advisory Committee (PHAC).

Members of the PHAC are listed in membership of the Public Health Advisory Committee and the NICE project team.

For information on how NICE public health guidelines are developed, see the NICE public health guideline process and methods guides.

What evidence is the guideline based on?

The evidence that the PHAC considered included:

  • Evidence reviews:

    • Review 1: 'A systematic review and economic evaluation of exercise referral schemes in primary care: a short report' was commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Appraisal programme (NIHR HTA). It was carried out by The University of Sheffield, School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR). The principal authors were: Fiona Campbell, Mike Holmes, Emma Everson-Hock E, Sarah Davis, Helen Buckley Woods, Nana Anokye, Paul Tappenden and Eva Kaltenthaler.

    • Review 2: 'The factors that influence referral to, attendance at and successful completion of exercise schemes and longer term participation in physical activity' was carried out by the Support Unit for Research Evidence (SURE), Cardiff University. The principal authors were: Fiona Morgan, Ruth Turley, Helen Morgan, Lydia Searchfield, Alison Weightman, Eva Elliot and Simon Murphy.

  • Economic modelling: review 1 contains the economic modelling.

  • Fieldwork report: Field testing NICE guideline on exercise referral schemes to promote physical activity was carried out by Word of Mouth.

In some cases the evidence was insufficient and the PHAC has made recommendations for future research. For the research recommendations and gaps in research, see recommendations for research and gaps in the evidence.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)