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Annual Meeting Abstracts: G-45 – Free Communication/Slide: Physical Activity, Health and Older Adults

The Physical Activity and Faith Project for Rural Older Adults

A Transtheoretical Model Based Intervention

Pomeroy, Sherry H.

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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2004 - Volume 36 - Issue 5 - p S322
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Healthy People 2010 objectives recommend that adults age 65 and older increase moderate physical activity to at least 30 minutes per day. Theory-based interventions designed to move older persons from sedentary lifestyle choices to physically active behaviors have not been consistently tested. PURPOSE: To test stage-matched and theory based interventions with rural older adults to increase their amount of physical activity and move subjects forward in the stages of physical activity behavior change. METHODS: Rural churches in three western New York counties were randomized into an experimental control group design with repeated measures pre and post intervention. 93 volunteers consented to participate, and 72 subjects (mean age 75.1) completed the study. The sample size had 80% power to detect a moderate effect size of 0.60 using a two-group t-test with a 0.050 one-sided significance level. The intervention was three months in duration with a follow-up at six months. The stage-matched interventions were designed for subjects in all stages of change, and were delivered using a group educational strategy, followed by seven phone call prompts and three mailed prompts. Intervention subjects used pedometers during the study. The control group received a delayed modified intervention at the end of the six-month study period. RESULTS: After three months, both the intervention (p<.0001) and the control (p = .003) groups significantly increased their scores on the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE). Pedometer data were analyzed using the slope of pedometer readings for each subject and examining if the slopes differed across baseline stage of change (SCQ) scores (p = .0190). Post-hoc analyses revealed significant differences in accumulated steps between preparation and maintenance stages of change (p = .0484) and action and maintenance stages (p = .0017). More subjects in the intervention group progressed in stage of change (61%) than the control (41.9%), but the difference was not statistically significant (p = .1944). CONCLUSIONS: The partnership with rural churches was innovative. More intervention studies are needed with rural older adults to increase the health benefits associated with physical activity at the recommended levels.

©2004The American College of Sports Medicine