The authors describe a medical center-based randomized trial aimed at determining the feasibility and effectiveness of partnering patients and primary-care providers with an exercise health counselor. Study participants included 165 veterans age 70 years and older. The primary end point was change in physical activity at 3 and 6 months comparing patients receiving high-intensity physical activity counseling, attention control counseling, and usual care after receiving standardized clinic-based counseling. We noted a significant Group × Time interaction (p = .041) for physical activity frequency and a similar effect for caloric expenditure (p = .054). Participants receiving high-intensity counseling and usual care increased physical activity over the short term, but those with usual care returned to baseline by the end of the study. The intervention was well received by practitioners and patients. We conclude that partnering primary-care providers with specialized exercise counselors for age- and health-appropriate physical activity counseling is effective.
Miriam C. Morey, Carola Ekelund, Megan Pearson, Gail Crowley, Matthew Peterson, Richard Sloane, Carl Pieper, Eleanor McConnell and Hayden Bosworth
Odessa Addison, Monica C. Serra, Leslie Katzel, Jamie Giffuni, Cathy C. Lee, Steven Castle, Willy M. Valencia, Teresa Kopp, Heather Cammarata, Michelle McDonald, Kris A. Oursler, Chani Jain, Janet Prvu Bettger, Megan Pearson, Kenneth M. Manning, Orna Intrator, Peter Veazie, Richard Sloane, Jiejin Li and Miriam C. Morey
Veterans represent a unique population of older adults, as they are more likely to self-report a disability and be overweight or obese compared with the general population. We sought to compare changes in mobility function across the obesity spectrum in older veterans participating in 6 months of Gerofit, a clinical exercise program. A total of 270 veterans (mean age: 74 years) completed baseline, 3-, and 6-month mobility assessments and were divided post hoc into groups: normal weight, overweight, and obese. The mobility assessments included 10-m walk time, 6-min walk distance, 30-s chair stands, and 8-foot up-and-go time. No significant weight × time interactions were found for any measure. However, clinically significant improvements of 7–20% were found for all mobility measures from baseline to 3 months and maintained at 6 months (all ps < .05). Six months of participation in Gerofit, if enacted nationwide, appears to be one way to improve mobility in older veterans at high risk for disability, regardless of weight status.