168774 Outcome of an Intervention to Increase Physical Activity in Older African Americans

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tina L. Harralson, PhD , Center for Urban Health Policy and Research, Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, Philadelphia, PA
Matthew McLaughlin, BS , Center for Urban Health Policy and Research, Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, Philadelphia, PA
Lynn Fields Harris, MPA , Center in the Park, Philadelphia, PA
Don Baxter, BS , Center in the Park, Philadelphia, PA
This study examined the impact of an exercise intervention developed to increase physical activity among older sedentary African Americans. Individuals were recruited from a senior center located in Northwest Philadelphia, which was also the location of the exercise intervention. During the 12-week instruction phase, participants were engaged in moderate intensity aerobic exercise and weight resistance training for 180 minutes a week. The classes were lead by professional fitness trainers and tailored for the individual. After the instruction phase, participants were given a free 2-month gym membership at the senior center (maintenance phase). Study outcomes included physical measures: body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, heart rate, waist and hip measurements, waist-to-hip ratio, and grip strength; and psychosocial measures: depressive measures, perceived social support, and physical and mental quality of life. Measures were obtained prior to the intervention, after the instruction phase, and after the maintenance phase. Thirty-six older African Americans were enrolled in the intervention (Mean age= 66 years; range 56-79 years). Results of the study indicated improvements during the exercise instruction phase in depressive symptoms, BMI, blood pressure, heart rate, waist, hip and waist-to-hip ratio and statistically significant improvements in perceived social support, vitality, and grip strength. During the maintenance phase, statistically significant changes occurred including: decrease in perceived social support, mental quality of life, and grip strength, and an increase in systolic blood pressure. Discussion will cover details of the exercise intervention and dialogue pertaining to ways to sustain improvements made during the instruction phase.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss development of a community based exercise intervention for sedentary older African Americans. Examine psychosocial and physical outcomes of the exercise intervention. Discuss ways to sustain improvements made during the instruction phase and encourage continuation of physical activity.

Keywords: Exercise, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I managed the study collecting and entering data, and assisted in analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.