Retrieval of Individual Participant Data for Exercise Meta-Analyses May Not Be Worth the Time and Effort

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Purpose. While individual participant data (IPD) meta-analyses are considered the gold standard for meta-analysis, the feasibility of obtaining IPD may be problematic. Methods. Using data from a previous meta-analysis of 29 studies on exercise in adults with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, the percentage of studies in which useable IPD was provided was calculated. Results. Eight of 29 authors (28%, 95% CI = 11% to 44%) provided IPD. Using logistic regression, neither year of publication (odds ratio = 1.05, 95% CI = 0.90 to 1.27, p = 0.58) nor country (odds ratio = 1.36, 95% CI = 0.20 to 10.9, p = 1.00) was significantly associated with the obtainment of IPD. Conclusions. The retrieval of IPD for exercise meta-analyses may not be worth the time and effort. However, further research is needed before any final recommendations can be made.