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Cluster randomized controlled trial of a multilevel physical activity intervention for older adults.


BACKGROUND:Older adults are the least active population group. Interventions in residential settings may support a multi-level approach to behavior change. METHODS:In a cluster randomized control trial, 11 San Diego retirement communities were assigned to a physical activity (PA) intervention or a healthy aging attention control condition. Participants were 307 adults over 65 years old. The multilevel PA intervention was delivered with the assistance of peer leaders, who were trained older adult from the retirement communities. Intervention components included individual counseling & self-monitoring with pedometers, group education sessions, group walks, community advocacy and pedestrian community change projects. Intervention condition by time interactions were tested using generalized mixed effects regressions. The primary outcomes was accelerometer measured physical activity. Secondary outcomes were blood pressure and objectively measured physical functioning. RESULTS:Over 70% of the sample were 80 years or older. PA significantly increased in the intervention condition (56 min of moderate-vigorous PA per week; 119 min of light PA) compared with the control condition and remained significantly higher across the 12 month study. Men and participants under 84 years old benefited most from the intervention. There was a significant decrease in systolic (p < .007) and diastolic (p < .02) blood pressure at 6 months. Physical functioning improved but the changes were not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS:Intervention fidelity was high demonstrating feasibility. Changes in PA and blood pressure achieved were comparable to other studies with much younger participants. Men, in particular, avoided a year-long decline in PA. TRIAL Identifier: NCT01155011 .

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