Effect of telephone counseling on physical activity for low-active older people in primary care: a randomized, controlled trial

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2007 Jul;55(7):986-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2007.01203.x.


Objectives: To assess the long-term effectiveness of a telephone counseling intervention on physical activity and health-related quality of life in low-active older adults recruited through their primary care physician.

Design: Randomized, controlled trial.

Setting: Three primary care practices from different socioeconomic regions of Auckland, New Zealand.

Participants: One hundred and eighty-six low-active adults (aged 65) recruited from their primary care physicians' patient databases.

Intervention: Eight telephone counseling sessions over 12 weeks based on increasing physical activity. Control patients received usual care.

Measurements: Change in physical activity (as measured using the Auckland Heart Study Physical Activity Questionnaire) and quality of life (as measured using the Short Form-36 Health Survey (SF-36)) over a 12-month period.

Results: Moderate leisure physical activity increased by 86.8 min/wk more in the intervention group than in the control group (P=.007). More participants in the intervention group reached 2.5 hours of moderate or vigorous leisure physical activity per week after 12 months (42% vs 23%, odds ratio=2.9, 95% confidence interval=1.33-6.32, P=.007). No differences on SF-36 measures were observed between the groups at 12 months.

Conclusion: Telephone-based physical activity counseling is effective at increasing physical activity over 12 months in previously low-active older adults.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Counseling / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypokinesia / physiopathology
  • Hypokinesia / rehabilitation*
  • Interviews as Topic*
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Physicians, Family
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Prognosis
  • Quality of Life
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Walking / physiology