Evidence on the economic costs and health outcomes of school-based physical activity interventions is lacking. This discussion reports on the findings of the economic evaluation conducted as part of the trial.
Data on resource use and costs incurred were collected from intervention schools (n = 9). Participant girls from all schools completed EQ-5D-Y forms at T0, T1, T2 to assess health-related quality of life (HRQoL). EQ-5D-Y responses were converted into unique health states and then weighted to create utility scores. An area under the curve (AUC) approach was applied to utility scores to calculate the cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) of the intervention.
The average cost to run the intervention per school was £2,401 (SD = £104), with an average cost per girl of £73 (95% CI = £71 to £75). There were no statistically significant differences in EQ-5D-Y utility scores across intervention and control arms at any time point, indicating that no change in HRQoL occurred over time. AUC analysis revealed no difference in intervention and control arm QALYs, resulting in no QALYs gained by the intervention.
The BGDP provides useful information on the resource use and monetary value of a school-based physical activity intervention. The lack of change in EQ-5D-Y scores suggests that the measure was unresponsive to changes in a ‘healthy’ school population. Future research may consider alternative HRQoL measures, which are appropriate to the population under investigation which is young and healthy.