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Older Adult/Senior

603. Effects of a Web-Based Intervention on Physical Activity and Metabolism in Older Adults: Randomized Controlled Trial

Research Article
Carolien A Wijsman, Rudi GJ Westendorp, Evert ALM Verhagen, Michael Catt, P Eline Slagboom, Anton JM de Craen, Karen Broekhuizen, Willem van Mechelen, Diana van Heemst, Frans van der Ouderaa, Simon P Mooijaart
January 2014

Commentary: Bethany Walker, AusPAnet Executive, National Heart Foundation

This paper is the first to report on the effects of Web-based interventions on increasing rates of objectively measured physical activity and improving metabolic health amongst inactive older adults from the general population. It also reports on the future role Web-based interventions play in improving overall population health amongst older adults. 

A 3-month randomised control trial was conducted on 235 adults aged 60-70 years. The intervention group took part in the Web-based physical activity program, DirectLife. This program is based on the stages of change and analyses an individual’s activity levels to determine a personal goal. Activity levels were measured using wrist and ankle accelerometers. 

Accelerometer results indicated moderate-to-vigorous physical activity increased 11 minutes in the intervention group and 0 minutes in the control group. Weight also significantly decreased with the intervention group losing an average of 1.5kg compared to 0.8kg in the control group (p=0.46).  Waist circumference measurements improved in the intervention group (-2.3cm) compared to the control group (-1.3cm, P=.036) as did fat mass (-0.6% and .07% respectively, P=.025).  

Findings supported the effectiveness of the web-based physical activity intervention. The control group increased their levels of physical activity and significantly improved their body composition. This report provides evidence to continue the web-based physical activity intervention particularly as internet usage is becoming more popular amongst older adults making it a viable platform to host health and behaviour interventions and encourage physical activity in an increasingly inactive population group. High retention rates were also observed but a long term follow up is needed to determine whether rates are sustainable. 

Source: Journal of Medical Internet Research, 15: e233. Access to this article may depend on your institutional rights. Click here to view the whole article.