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  • Author: Kimberlee A. Gretebeck x
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Kimberlee A. Gretebeck, Kaitlyn Radius, David R. Black, Randall J. Gretebeck, Rosemary Ziemba and Lawrence T. Glickman

Background:

Regular walking improves overall health and functional ability of older adults, yet most are sedentary. Dog ownership/pet responsibility may increase walking in older adults. Goals of this study were to identify factors that influence older adult walking and compare physical activity, functional ability and psychosocial characteristics by dog ownership status.

Methods:

In this cross-sectional study, older adults (65−95 years of age, n = 1091) completed and returned questionnaires via postal mail. Measures included: Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly, Physical Functioning Questionnaire and Theory of Planned Behavior Questionnaire.

Results:

Dog owner/dog walkers (n = 77) reported significantly (P < .05) more total walking, walking frequency, leisure and total physical activity and higher total functional ability than dog owner/nondog walkers (n = 83) and nondog owners (n = 931). Dog owner/nondog walkers reported lower intention and perceived behavioral control and a less positive attitude than dog owner/dog walkers (P < .05).

Conclusions:

Dog owner/dog walkers were significantly different than the nondog walker groups in nearly every study variable. Many dog owners (48.1%) reported walking their dogs regularly and the dog owner/dog walkers participated in nearly 50% more total walking than the 2 nondog walking groups, suggesting that pet obligation may provide a purposeful activity that motivates some older dog owners to walk.

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Nancy Ambrose Gallagher, Kimberlee A. Gretebeck, Jennifer C. Robinson, Elisa R. Torres, Susan L. Murphy and Kristy K. Martyn

Focus-group and photo-voice methodology were used to identify the salient factors of the neighborhood environment that encourage or discourage walking in older, urban African Americans. Twenty-one male (n = 2) and female (n = 19) African Americans age 60 years and older (M = 70 ± 8.7, range = 61–85) were recruited from a large urban senior center. Photographs taken by the participants were used to facilitate focus-group discussions. The most salient factors that emerged included the presence of other people, neighborhood surroundings, and safety from crime, followed by sidewalk and traffic conditions, animals, public walking tracks and trails, and weather. Future walking interventions for older African Americans should include factors that encourage walking, such as the presence of other friendly or active people, attractive or peaceful surroundings, and a sense of safety from crime.

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Kimberlee A. Gretebeck, Caroline S. Blaum, Tisha Moore, Roger Brown, Andrzej Galecki, Debra Strasburg, Shu Chen and Neil B. Alexander

Background: Diabetes-related disability occurs in approximately two-thirds of older adults with diabetes and is associated with loss of independence, increased health care resource utilization, and sedentary lifestyle. The objective of this randomized controlled trial was to determine the effect of a center-based functional circuit exercise training intervention followed by a 10-week customized home-based program in improving mobility function in sedentary older adults with diabetes. Methods: Participants (n = 111; mean age 70.5 [7.1] y; mean body mass index 32.7 [5.9] kg/m2) were randomized to either a moderate-intensity functional circuit training (FCT) plus 10-week home program to optimize physical activity (FCT-PA) primary intervention or one of 2 comparison groups (FCT plus health education [FCT-HE] or flexibility and toning plus health education [FT-HE]). Results: Compared with FT-HE, FCT-PA improvements in comfortable gait speed of 0.1 m/s (P < .05) and 6-minute walk of 80 ft were consistent with estimates of clinically meaningful change. At 20 weeks, controlling for 10-week outcomes, improvements were found between groups for comfortable gait speed (FCT-PA vs FT-HE and FCT-HE vs FT-HE) and 6-minute walk (FCT-PA vs FCT-HE). Conclusions: Functional exercise training can improve mobility in overweight/obese older adults with diabetes and related comorbidities. Future studies should evaluate intervention sustainability and adaptations for those with more severe mobility impairments.