Randomized Controlled Trial of Primary Health Care Strategies for the Promotion of Leisure-Time Physical Activity Among Older Brazilians

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: Physical activity promotion within primary health care is in the spotlight. However, few studies have evaluated the long-term effectiveness of possible interventions. This study aimed to compare the effectiveness of 3 primary health care interventions in increasing leisure-time physical activity among older Brazilians. Methods: Experimental study with 142 older residents of an ongoing urban cohort in São Paulo (Brazil). Participants were randomized into 3 groups: minimal intervention group, physician-based counseling group, and individual counseling and referral for physical activity programs group (CRG). We used the long version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire to assess leisure-time physical activity at baseline, 4 years after baseline without any intervention, 3 months after intervention, and 6 months after intervention. Statistical analysis included repeated analysis of variance. Results: At baseline, 31% of the individuals were active, and this figure remained stable for a period of 4 years. Three months after the interventions, there was a significant increase in leisure-time physical activity for CRG compared with the minimal intervention (P < .001) and physician-based counseling (P < .02) groups, and these differences persisted after 6 months (P < .001 and P < .05, respectively). Conclusion: Results indicate that interventions with CRG are effective in producing sustained changes in physical activity among older Brazilians.

Novais is with the PhD Program at Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Brazil. Ramos is with Escola Paulista de Medicina, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil. Simoes and Schmaltz are with the School of Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO.

Novais (frannovais@yahoo.com.br) is corresponding author.
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