Efficacy of Using Physical Activity Mentors to Increase the Daily Steps of Older Adults in the Primary Care Setting: A Pilot Study

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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The purpose of this pilot study was to determine if using physical activity (PA) mentors has any additional impact on daily steps of older adults participating in the Maine in Motion (MIM) program in the primary care setting. Participants were randomly assigned to a MIM-only group (n = 14) or a MIM+ mentor group (n = 14). The MIM intervention lasted 6 months with follow-up at 12 months. Average age of participants was 64 ± 8.8 years and most participants had multiple chronic illnesses. At baseline, mean body mass index (BMI) was 32.2 ± 5.1 and average daily steps were 4,236 ± 2,266. Repeated-measures ANOVA revealed significant main effects for steps, F(2.324, 59.104) = 4.168, p = .015, but no main effects for group, F(1, 25) = 2.988, p = .096, or time-by-group interaction, F(2.324, 59.104) = 0.905, p = .151. All participants significantly increased daily steps over the course of the intervention, with MIM+ participants maintaining increases at follow-up. No significant findings were found for BMI.

Croteau is with the Dept. of Exercise, Health, and Sport Sciences, and Suresh, the School of Nursing, University of Southern Maine, Gorham, ME. Farnham is with the Maine Governor’s Council on Physical Activity, Augusta, ME.