Evaluation of champs, a physical activity promotion program for older adults
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- Stewart, A.L., Mills, K.M., Sepsis, P.G. et al. ann. behav. med. (1997) 19: 353. doi:10.1007/BF02895154
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We evaluated physical activity changes resulting from a six-month public health model intervention that encouraged seniors (N=89) 62–91 years of age (mean=76) living in two low-income congregate housing facilities to increase their physical activity by participating in existing community-based physical activity classes and programs of their choice. The program was offered to everyone regardless of their health problems. Enrollees were encouraged to adopt activities tailored to their preferences, physical abilities, health status, income, and transportation resources. Using a comparison-group design, the intervention group was more active for all comparison months of the intervention period (p values<.05). The intervention also was associated with improvements in self-esteem (p<.05), though not with an array of other measures of health-related quality-of-life. Those who adopted and maintained a new physical activity over the six-month intervention period experienced improvements in anxiety, depression, and overall psychological well-being relative to those who did not. The intervention was subsequently replicated through a senior center (N=22). A much larger proportion of the senior center sample adopted and maintained a new activity for six months (68%) compared to the congregate facilities sample (35%), which may have been due to differences in recruitment methods and sample characteristics in the two settings. An intervention promoting increased physical activity through the use of existing community resources may help increase physical activity in older adults.