Sustained increases in physical activity can be seen among older adults with a primary care nurse-delivered intervention, reveals a study published by Tess Harris of St George's University of London, and colleagues in this week's PLOS Medicine. The trial was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
To evaluate the safety, acceptability, and efficacy of this intervention, the researchers enrolled 298 people, 60-75 years old, and randomized them by household to receive either standard care or an intervention aimed to increase PA. The intervention included four PA consultations delivered by a primary care nurse over three months, which provided the participants with individualized PA plan and pedometer and accelerometer feedback. Between consultations, the participants were asked to keep a PA diary and wear a pedometer, which provided them with immediate step-count feedback.
At three months, and again at 12 months, both the control and intervention groups were asked to wear accelerometers to objectively measure PA intensity and duration. At 3 months, the intervention group's average daily step-counts were 1037 steps higher than the control group's, and participants in the intervention group spent 63 more minutes per week in moderate-to-vigorous PA bouts of 10 minutes or more.