Background: Despite the known health benefits of physical activity (PA), less than half and less than one-third of older adults in Germany reach the PA recommendations for endurance training and strength training, respectively, of the World Health Organization. The aim of this study is to investigate the implementation and effectiveness over the course of 9 months of two interventions (information technology [IT]-based vs print-based) for PA promotion among initially inactive older adults in a randomized, crossover trial. This study is part of a large research consortium (2015-2021) investigating different aspects of PA promotion. The IT-based intervention was previously developed and refined, while the print-based intervention was newly developed during this funding phase.
Objective: We aim to compare the effectiveness and examine the preferences of study participants regarding both delivery modes.
Methods: Our target sample size was 390 initially inactive community-dwelling older adults aged ≥60 years at baseline (3-month follow-up [T1]: expected n=300; 9-month follow-up [T2]: expected n=240) who were randomized to one of two interventions for self-monitoring PA: IT-based (50%) or print-based (50%) intervention. In addition, 30% of the IT-based intervention group received a PA tracker. At T1, participants in both groups could choose whether they prefered to keep their assigned intervention or cross over to the other group for the following 6 months (T2). Participants' intervention preferences at baseline were collected retrospectively to run a post hoc matched-mismatched analysis. During the initial 3-month intervention period, both intervention groups were offered weekly group sessions that were continued monthly between T1 and T2. A self-administered questionnaire and 3D accelerometers were employed to assess changes in PA between baseline, T1, and T2. Adherence to PA recommendations, attendance at group sessions, and acceptance of the interventions were also tracked.
Results: The funding period started in February 2018 and ends in January 2021. We obtained institutional review board approval for the study from the Medical Association in Bremen on July 3, 2018. Data collection was completed on January 31, 2020, and data cleaning and analysis started in February 2020. We expect to publish the first results by the end of the funding period.
Conclusions: Strategies to promote active aging are of particular relevance in Germany, as 29% of the population is projected to be ≥65 years old by 2030. Regular PA is a key contributor to healthy aging. This study will provide insights into the acceptance and effectiveness of IT-based vs print-based interventions to promote PA in initially inactive individuals aged ≥60 years. Results obtained in this study will improve the existing evidence base on the effectiveness of community-based PA interventions in Germany and will inform efforts to anchor evidence-based PA interventions in community structures and organizations via an allocation of permanent health insurance funds.
Trial registration: German Registry of Clinical Trials DRKS00016073; https://tinyurl.com/y983586m.
International registered report identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/15168.
Keywords: IT-based intervention; eHealth; healthy aging; older adults; physical activity; physical activity promotion; preferences; print intervention; randomized trial.
©Claudia R Pischke, Claudia Voelcker-Rehage, Manuela Peters, Tiara Ratz, Hermann Pohlabeln, Jochen Meyer, Kai von Holdt, Sonia Lippke. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (http://www.researchprotocols.org), 27.04.2020.