Research Study Abstract

The Effect of a Lifestyle Intervention Program on Physical Activity Level and Step Counts in Older Latina Women

  • Presented on July 3, 2014

Introduction: Older Latinas are particularly vulnerable for unhealthy lifestyle behaviors and the resultant chronic diseases. Physical activity (PA), along with other different behaviors, is an important component of health. The Federal Government of the United States recommends that every adult should accumulate at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous PA for health benefits (DHHS, 2008). In addition to minutes of PA, the number of steps accumulated in a day has also been used as a measure of activity status. This study examined the effect of a lifestyle intervention program on PA levels and step counts in older Mexican women living in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in Chicago, United States

Methods: A total of 18 older Mexican women(64 ± 9 years) recruited for the Grandmothers in Action Program (GAP) had their PA and step counts assessed pre- and post- 6 months intervention. Participants wore for 4 to 7 consecutive days an accelerometer (Actigraph GT3X plus) at the hip. GAP is a culturally sensitive program that consist of educational workshops on PA, nutrition and stress management. Accelerometer data were processed using ActiLife 6.0 employing the Freedson adult cut points (Freedson et al., 1998). The following variables were then examined: light, lifestyle, moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA), and step counts per day. Paired t-test adopting p≤.05, was used to test the effectiveness of the intervention in the selected variables.

Results: Participants, significantly increased MVPA after the intervention (pre=229.52±116.5 min/wk vs post=294.2±195.9; t (17) = 2.11, p≤.05). However, no changes were observed in time spent in light (pre=371.0±128.7 min/wk vs post= 365.3±128.9 min/wk), and lifestyle (pre=338.1±114.9 min/wk vs post= 337.7±136.4 min/wk) intensity activities. On average, step counts per day increased by 873 steps (5933±2372.80 vs 6807±3808.05; p=NS).

Discussion: Despite most of the participants being active in the baseline, the findings suggest that the lifestyle intervention program, including PA, was effective in significantly increasing MVPA of the participants. As noted by other studies (Greaves et al., 2011), lifestyle intervention programs are an effective means to change behavior and should be considered when promoting PA among older adults.

References: DHHS. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2008. Freedson PS, et al. (1998). Calibration of the computer science and applications, Inc. accelerometer. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 30(5), 777-81 Greaves CJ, et al. Systematic review of reviews of intervention components associated with increased effectiveness in dietary and physical activity interventions. (2011). BMC Public Health, 11,119. Contact