Nutritional and physical exercise programs for older people: program format preferences and (dis)incentives to participate

Clin Interv Aging. 2018 Jul 19;13:1259-1266. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S159819. eCollection 2018.


Purpose: A growing number of studies in older people have been examining the beneficial effects of non-pharmacological interventions, such as physical exercise (PE) and nutritional supplementation, to target age-related syndromes such as sarcopenia and frailty. This study evaluated interpersonal, intrapersonal, and community (dis)incentives, concepts of motivation, and preferred program formats toward a PE or nutritional program in older people, with or without frailty or risk of sarcopenia.

Methods: A questionnaire was developed and filled in by 115 community-dwelling older adults (≥65 years of age) after content (n=7 experts) and face validation (n=8 older adults). We assessed 1) the agreement with a statement (a statement with which ≥70% of the participants agree or strongly agree is considered as a common statement), 2) concepts of motivation by an exploratory factor analysis, and 3) program preferences by nonparametric Wilcoxon or Friedman's analysis of variance and post hoc Wilcoxon signed-rank tests.

Results: Intrapersonal motivators (eg, health benefits) were the most common motivators to participate in a PE or nutritional program. Identified concepts to participate in a PE intervention were intrinsic health beliefs, fear of falling or injuries, influence of significant others and environment, and (para)medical encouragement (Cronbach's alpha: 0.75; 72% variance explained). Intrinsic health beliefs, influence of significant others and (para)medical encouragement were identified as concepts that motivate older people to participate in a nutritional intervention (Cronbach's alpha: 0.77; 78% variance explained). No favorability of exercise location was identified; however, older people preferred protein supplement intake in a tablet form compared to liquid or powder form and in a pulsed timing compared with a spread intake.

Conclusion: Program preferences of older people toward nutritional interventions need to be taken into account in future clinical trials and implementation programs, to increase recruitment and adherence to interventions.

Keywords: frailty; incentives; nutrition; old; physical activity; sarcopenia.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diet / psychology*
  • Environment
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Sarcopenia / epidemiology
  • Sarcopenia / prevention & control
  • Surveys and Questionnaires