Online Program

A senior exercise intervention using behavior change and preventive orthopedics

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Caroline H. Sparks, Assoc Professor, School of Public Health and Health Services, The George Washington University, Washington, DC
The short-term objective for this one year study was to compare health and behavioral outcomes of seniors in an exercise intervention to those of seniors in a comparison group who received only standard advice on exercise. The study introduced an innovation in the field by using an intervention that combined best practices in behavior change intervention with preventive orthopedics implemented by an interdisciplinary team of health promoters, physicians, and physical therapists.

Sixty-three seniors were assessed to compare health and behavioral outcomes over three months using two senior fitness tests of functional performance and behavioral outcomes based on scores of attitudes and barriers toward exercise, self-efficacy, motivation, and intent. Given the small sample size for each group, non-parametric Wilcoxon rank sums tests were used to compare intervention vs comparison group performance and behavioral outcomes. Wilcoxon signed-rank tests were used to measure improvement between pre- and post-test scores of participants in the intervention group. Regression analysis is being used to evaluate the impact of motivation and readiness to exercise on actual exercise within and across groups. Weekly monitoring data for the intervention group as well as any feedback at the post-intervention interviews for both group is being used to descriptively assess seniors acceptance of the program and document likely barriers to completion of the intervention. Cross training of health promoters with physicians and physical therapists has been a success. Since this was our first small test of our intervention model, our lessons learned can refine our approach to our future work.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate differences between the intervention and comparison groups of seniors over age 65 on two senior fitness tests; Discuss the advantages of exercises based on combining a preventive orthopedic approach with behavior change strategies in public health.

Keyword(s): Exercise, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Principal Investigator on this project.
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.