Study is result of collaboration between scientists
in South Carolina and Texas
Physical activity programs developed by researchers can be made to
work in real life settings, offering health benefits to Baby Boomers and
other senior citizens, according to a new study.
Arnold School associate professor Dr. Sara Wilcox said the findings
are important because most programs developed by researchers are never
translated into community settings and do not make a public health
Wilcox is the lead author of a paper published in the October issue
of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
The paper is based on research done by the Arnold School in
collaboration with the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural
The researchers reviewed data from the Active for Life® program and
found that physical activity programs developed and tested in research
settings can be successfully implemented and diffused through community
Active for Life® was established in 2003 at the HSC-School of Rural
Public Health, with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funding.
The program goals were to learn how research-based programs can be
adapted for large-scale dissemination, understand factors that affect
program adoption by community organizations, broaden the reach of
programs, and understand what is needed at the community level to
Active for Life® specifically addressed physical activity among
The program used two lifestyle interventions, Active Choices™, a
telephone-coaching program, and Active Living Every Day, a group-based
program. Researchers looked at data from 5,000 program participants
between 2003 and 2007.
The findings showed significant increases in total physical activity,
as well as increases in moderate to vigorous intensity.
Participants also showed increases in satisfaction of body appearance
and function, and small decreases in body weight. Those who took part in
the Active Living Every Day program also reported a decrease in
perceived stress and depressive symptoms.