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  • Author: Christina E. Miyawaki x
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Christina E. Miyawaki, Rebecca L. Mauldin and Carolyn R. Carman

Exercise is important for older adults in order to prevent falls and live safer, healthier lives. Visual impairment is a risk factor for falling. Older adults tend to visit optometrists frequently; however, assessing patients’ physical exercise levels is not a routine practice for optometrists. The purpose of this study was to examine the potential for optometrists’ referrals to exercise programs. This study used a mixed-method, cross-sectional design. In focus groups, optometry patients (N = 42) discussed the acceptability of an optometrist’s prescription for exercise programs. The vast majority of optometry patients (90%) indicated that they would follow such a prescription for exercise from their optometrists. Texas optometrists (N = 268) were surveyed about the potential for exercise program prescriptions, and 97% indicated a willingness to prescribe exercise programs to their patients. The results suggest that there is an opportunity for community–clinical partnerships to prevent falls and to improve the health of older patients.

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Marlana J. Kohn, Basia Belza, Miruna Petrescu-Prahova, Christina E. Miyawaki and Katherine H. Hohman

This study examined participant demographic and physical function characteristics from EnhanceFitness, an evidence-based physical activity program for older adults. The sample consisted of 19,964 older adults. Participant data included self-reported health and demographic variables, and results for three physical function tests: chair stand, arm curls, and timed up-and-go. Linear regression models compared physical function test results among eight program site types. Participants were, on average, 72 years old, predominantly female, and reported having one chronic condition. Residential site participants’ physical function test results were significantly poorer on chair stand and timed up-and-go measures at baseline, and timed up-and-go at a four-month follow-up compared with the reference group (senior centers) after controlling for demographic variables and site clustering. Evidence-based health-promotion programs offered in community settings should assess demographic, health, and physical function characteristics to best serve participants’ specific needs, and offer classes tailored to participant function and ability while maintaining program fidelity.

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Basia Belza, Christina E. Miyawaki, Peg Allen, Diane K. King, David X. Marquez, Dina L. Jones, Sarah Janicek, Dori Rosenberg and David R. Brown

Mall walking has been a popular physical activity for decades. However, little is known about why mall managers support these programs or why adults choose to walk. Our study aim was to describe mall walking programs from the perspectives of walkers, managers, and leaders. Twenty-eight walkers, 16 walking program managers, and six walking program leaders from five states participated in a telephone or in-person semi-structured interview (N = 50). Interview guides were developed using a social-ecological model. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed thematically. All informants indicated satisfaction with their program and environmental features. Differences in expectations were noted in that walkers wanted a safe, clean, and social place whereas managers and leaders felt a need to provide programmatic features. Given the favorable walking environments in malls, there is an opportunity for public health professionals, health care organizations, and providers of aging services to partner with malls to promote walking.