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Arnold School of Public Health
University of South Carolina
800 Sumter Street
Columbia, SC 29208

Phone: 803-777-5032
Fax: 803-777-4783



Posted 10/3/2008

Study is result of collaboration between scientists
in South Carolina and Texas

Sara Wilcox

Physical activity programs developed by researchers can be made to work in real life settings, offering health benefits to Baby Boomers and other senior citizens, according to a new study.

Arnold School associate professor Dr. Sara Wilcox said the findings are important because most programs developed by researchers are never translated into community settings and do not make a public health impact.

Wilcox is the lead author of a paper published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The paper is based on research done by the Arnold School in collaboration with the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health.

The researchers reviewed data from the Active for Life® program and found that physical activity programs developed and tested in research settings can be successfully implemented and diffused through community organizations.

Active for Life® was established in 2003 at the HSC-School of Rural Public Health, with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funding.

The program goals were to learn how research-based programs can be adapted for large-scale dissemination, understand factors that affect program adoption by community organizations, broaden the reach of programs, and understand what is needed at the community level to sustain programs.

Active for Life® specifically addressed physical activity among mature adults.

The program used two lifestyle interventions, Active Choices™, a telephone-coaching program, and Active Living Every Day, a group-based program. Researchers looked at data from 5,000 program participants between 2003 and 2007.

The findings showed significant increases in total physical activity, as well as increases in moderate to vigorous intensity.

Participants also showed increases in satisfaction of body appearance and function, and small decreases in body weight. Those who took part in the Active Living Every Day program also reported a decrease in perceived stress and depressive symptoms.

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