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  • Author: Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko x
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Kim C. Graber, Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko, Jamie A. O’Connor and Jenny M. Linker

Civic engagement and service learning opportunities provide students with unique real-world experiences they are unable to acquire in a traditional in-class setting. Students develop a commitment to the community in which they live, exposure to other populations, leadership abilities, skills to work successfully within a team, and a chance to learn from failure. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has recognized the importance of such opportunities and has added the Community Engagement Classification to the restructured Carnegie Classifications of Institutions of Higher Education. The purpose of this paper is to provide a synthesis of the literature that addresses civic engagement and service learning opportunities and to describe a university class that was designed to provide undergraduate students with a capstone service learning experience promoting wellness for older adults in the community. Data that were collected to evaluate the success of the class are also described.

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Jacqueline M. Miotto, Wojtek J. Chodzko-Zajko, Jennifer L. Reich and Melissa M. Supler

A limiting factor in evaluating the functional status of older people is the lack of appropriate measurement tools for assessing functional mobility, muscle strength, aerobic endurance, agility, and flexibility. In this study, the reliability and validity of the seven-item Fullerton Functional Fitness Test (FFT) battery, designed for use with community-dwelling older adults, was examined. The test items were as follows: floor sit-and-reach, back scratch, 8-ft up-and-go, arm curl, 30-s chair stand. 2-min step, and 9-min walk. Seventy-nine participants (42 physically active, 37 sedentary) completed the FFT battery three times within a 2-week period. The test-retest reliability intraclass correlation coefficients were high. Construct validity analysis revealed that five of the seven FFT items discriminated between the physically active and sedentary groups. In conclusion, most of the evidence from the stability reliability and discriminant validity analyses supports the view that the Fullerton FFT battery is a reliable and valid test of functional fitness.

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Lisa Sheppard, Jane Senior, Chae Hee Park, Robin Mockenhaupt and Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko

At the National Blueprint Consensus Conference in October 2002, representatives of more than 50 national organizations convened to identify strategies to advance the National Blueprint: Increasing Physical Activity Among Adults Age 50 and Older. Participants were assigned to 5 breakout groups—home and community, marketing, medical systems, public policy, and research—each charged with identifying the 3 highest priority strategies in its area for effectively increasing physical activity in the midlife and older adult population. In addition, 3 “cross cutting” strategies were added, which were broad-based in scope and that applied to more than 1 of the breakout themes. An organization was identified to plan and implement each strategy. The conference identified strategies and tactics to overcome societal barriers to physical activity among the targeted population. An organization was identified to plan and implement each of the 18 strategies using professional networks and established delivery channels and communication systems to translate this plan into action.

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Chae-Hee Park, Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko, Marcia G. Ory, Jane Gleason-Senior, Terry L. Bazzarre and Robin Mockenhaupt

This study was designed to evaluate the impact of the National Blueprint (NB) on the policies, programs, and organizational culture of selected national organizations. The theoretical model selected to assess the impact of the NB on organizational behavior was Burke’s system theory of organizational change. Three organizations, AARP, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), and the Administration on Aging (AoA), were selected for the study. Two individuals in each of these organizations were selected for interview. Semistructured interviews and document reviews were used in the data-collection process. Findings showed that the publication and establishment of the NB resulted in changes in the operating procedures of AARP, ACSM, and AoA. The results were broadly consistent with Burke’s system theory of organizational change. The publication of the NB was shown to affect the behavior of organizational leaders, organizational culture, policies, programs, and individual and organizational performance. The new information generated has increased our understanding of the impact of health campaigns on organizational behavior.

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M. Elaine Cress, David M. Buchner, Thomas Prohaska, James Rimmer, Marybeth Brown, Carol Macera, Loretta DiPietro and Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko

Physical activity offers one of the greatest opportunities for people to extend years of active independent life and reduce functional limitations. The article identifies key practices for promoting physical activity in older adults, with a focus on those with chronic disease or low fitness and those with low levels of physical activity. Key practices identified: (a) A multidimensional activity program that includes endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility training is optimal for health and functional benefits; (b) principles of behavior change including social support, self-efficacy, active choices, health contracts, assurances of safety, and positive reinforcement enhance adherence; (c) manage risk by beginning at low intensity but gradually increasing to moderate physical activity, which has a better risk:benefit ratio and should be the goal for older adults; (d) an emergency procedure plan is prudent for community-based programs; and (e) monitoring aerobic intensity is important for progression and motivation. Selected content review of physical activity programming from major organizations and institutions is provided.

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Fuzhong Li, K. John Fisher, Adrian Bauman, Marcia G. Ory, Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko, Peter Harmer, Mark Bosworth and Minot Cleveland

Over the past few years, attention has been drawn to the importance of neighborhood influences on physical activity behavior and the need to consider a multilevel analysis involving not only individual-level variables but also social-and physical-environment variables at the neighborhood level in explaining individual differences in physical activity outcomes. This new paradigm raises a series of issues concerning systems of influence observed at different hierarchical levels (e.g., individuals, neighborhoods) and variables that can be defined at each level. This article reviews research literature and discusses substantive, operational, and statistical issues in studies involving multilevel influences on middle-aged and older adults’ physical activity. To encourage multilevel research, the authors propose a model that focuses attention on multiple levels of influence and the interaction among variables characterizing individuals, among variables characterizing neighborhoods, and across both levels. They conclude that a multilevel perspective is needed to increase understanding of the multiple influences on physical activity.

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Barbara Resnick, Marcia G. Ory, Kerrie Hora, Michael E. Rogers, Phillip Page, Jane N. Bolin, Roseann M. Lyle, Cody Sipe, Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko and Terry L. Bazzarre

The Exercise Assessment and Screening for You (EASY) is a tool developed to help older individuals, their health care providers, and exercise professionals identify different types of exercise and physical activity regimens that can be tailored to meet the existing health conditions, illnesses, or disabilities of older adults. The EASY tool includes 6 screening questions that were developed based on an expert roundtable and follow-up panel activities. The philosophy behind the EASY is that screening should be a dynamic process in which participants learn to appreciate the importance of engaging in regular exercise, attending to health changes, recognizing a full range of signs and symptoms that might indicate potentially harmful events, and becoming familiar with simple safety tips for initiating and progressively increasing physical activity patterns. Representing a paradigm shift from traditional screening approaches that focus on potential risks of exercising, this tool emphasizes the benefits of exercise and physical activity for all individuals.