CDC - Preventing Chronic Disease: Volume 9, 2012: 11_0071
Evaluation of a Telephone-based Physical Activity Promotion Program for Disadvantaged Older Adults
Kristen Hammerback, MA; Glen Felias-Christensen, RN, MPH; Elizabeth A. Phelan, MD, MS
Suggested citation for this article: Hammerback K, Felias-Christensen G, Phelan EA. Evaluation of a telephone-based physical activity promotion program for disadvantaged older adults. Prev Chronic Dis 2012;9.110071. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd9.110071.
Lack of adequate physical activity among older adults has been widely documented. Although interventions aimed at increasing physical activity that are based on behavioral strategies and theories have been shown to increase activity levels among older adults, little is known about responses to these interventions in different population segments.
The Physical Activity for a Lifetime of Success (PALS) program attempted to translate a telephone-based, motivational support program for physical activity, Active Choices, for use by a low-income, ethnically diverse population of older adults living in southeast Seattle. This article describes the evaluation of PALS at the end of the 5-year program.
Evaluation data included a data set of participant physical activity assessments; internal study documents; and interviews with key PALS stakeholders, participants, volunteers, and people eligible for PALS who declined to enroll when invited.
PALS demonstrated improved physical activity levels among the sedentary older adults who participated in the program, but the PALS model did not appeal widely to a diverse, low-income target population. Extensive recruitment efforts resulted in a low number of participants, and attempts to recruit peer volunteers were largely unsuccessful.
Considering the resources required to engage both participants and volunteers, PALS does not appear to be a sustainable model for delivering support for physical activity to community-dwelling minority and low-income older adults.