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Improving physical fitness and health status perception in community-dwelling older adults through a structured program for physical activity promotion in the city of Naples, Italy: A randomized controlled trial

Improving physical fitness and health status perception in community-dwelling older adults through a structured program for physical activity promotion in the city of Naples, Italy: A randomized controlled trial

Geriatrics and Gerontology International 17(10): 1421-1428

To evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of a physical activity promotion intervention in community-dwelling older adults based on a free program of exercise adapted for older adults aged ≥60 years managed by trainees from the Movement Sciences degree course. A total of 160 adults aged 60-82 years were randomly allocated into the intervention and control group. The exercise program consisted of 1-h sessions carried out twice a week for a year. Control participants received recommendations about an active lifestyle from their physicians. Senior Fitness Tests and the 12-item Short Form Health Survey were used to assess six functional fitness domains of participants and perception of their health status, respectively. Body mass index was also evaluated. A total of 62 participants completed the exercise path. At the end of the intervention, they showed a significant body mass index decrease (from 27.9 ± 1.6 to 25.1 ± 1.8 kg/m2 , P < 0.01), and a significant improvement in functional domains, mainly aerobic fitness (+33.9%, P < 0.01) and agility (+24.2%, P < 0.01), and in good health status perception (+38.7%, P < 0.05). Similar variations were not observed in the control group (P > 0.05). A high acceptance of the intervention was registered among participants (>88.7%); staff competence and gratuitousness were the most appreciated features (>85.5%). The structured program represented a useful opportunity to promote physical activity among participants, and it was effective in improving their physical fitness and health status perception. Similar interventions are required to sensitize the whole older population, and experts in Movement Sciences might represent a key figure in this context. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2017; 17: 1421-1428.

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Accession: 058076148

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PMID: 27628168

DOI: 10.1111/ggi.12879

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