Physical Activity in Elders Increased By Pedometers and Nursing Input

Tess Harris St George’s University of LondonMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Tess Harris
St George’s University of London

 

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study?

Response: Physical activity is vital for both physical and mental health in older people, preventing at least 20 common health problems. Yet the majority of older people do not achieve the World Health Organisation physical activity guidelines for health of at least 150 minutes every week of at least moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity in bouts that each last at least 10 minutes. Brisk walking is a good way to achieve moderate intensity physical activity, with a low risk of harm. Pedometers can give you direct feedback on your step-count and accelerometers record both step-counts and the intensity of physical activity achieved. The PACE-Lift trial assessed whether an intervention to increase walking, comprising pedometer and accelerometer feedback, combined with physical activity consultations provided by practice nurses over a 3 month period, based on simple behaviour change techniques, could lead to sustained increases in physical activity in 60-75 year olds.

MedicalResearch: What did the researchers do and what are the main findings?

Response: The researchers enrolled 298 people aged 60-75 years from 3 different UK general practices and randomised them by household to receive either standard care or the above intervention aimed to increase physical activity. At 3 months, the intervention group’s average daily step-counts were 1037 steps higher than the control group’s and participants in the intervention group spent 63 more minutes per week in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity of 10 minutes or more than those in the control group. At 12 months, those differences were 609 steps per day and 40 minutes per week. Adverse effects, such as falls or injuries, were similar between groups, and qualitative interviews and a focus group conducted at the end of the study revealed that participants and practice nurses were very positive about the intervention.

MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report

Response: This study demonstrates that practice nurses can safely deliver an intervention to increasing walking, as demonstrated by both increased steps and increased time in moderate intensity physical activity. The intervention had a lasting effect, with demonstrable differences at 12 months (9 months after the intervention was over). If sustained, this level of increased physical activity is estimated to decrease risk of heart disease by 5.5% and type 2 diabetes by 9.1%, with additional reductions in risk in other common diseases too. The main advantages that primary care offers are an ideal setting for delivering physical activity interventions in this age group and the opportunity to integrate this into routine care.

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Further trials are needed to distinguish which aspects of the intervention were most effective, whether the intervention will be effective in more socio-economically diverse populations, and to determine the costs of implementing a program like this on a larger scale.

Press Release:

Primary care nurse-delivered consultations and pedometer monitoring can increase physical activity in older adults

A primary care nurse-delivered intervention can lead to sustained increases in physical activity (PA) among older adults, according to an article published by Tess Harris of St George’s University of London, and colleagues in this week’s PLOS Medicine. The trial was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

To evaluate the safety, acceptability, and efficacy of this intervention, the researchers enrolled 298 people, 60-75 years old, and randomized them by household to receive either standard care or an intervention aimed to increase PA. The intervention included four PA consultations delivered by a primary care nurse over three months, which provided the participants with individualized PA plan and pedometer and accelerometer feedback. Between consultations, the participants were asked to keep a PA diary and wear a pedometer, which provided them with immediate step-count feedback. At three months, and again at 12 months, both the control and intervention groups were asked to wear accelerometers to objectively measure PA intensity and duration. At 3 months, the intervention group’s average daily step-counts were 1037 steps higher than the control group’s, and participants in the intervention group spent 63 more minutes per week in moderate-to-vigorous PA bouts of 10 minutes or more. At 12 months, those differences were 609 steps per day and 40 minutes per week. This level of increased PA is estimated to decrease risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes by 5.5% and 9.1%, respectively. Adverse effects, such as falls or injuries, were similar between groups, and qualitative interviews and a focus groupconducted at the end of the study revealed that participants and practice nurses were positive about the intervention.

While the findings suggest that this intervention might provide an effective way to increase PA, and therefore health, in older adults, further trials are needed to distinguish which aspects of the intervention were most effective, whether the intervention will be effective in more socio-economically diverse populations, and to determine the costs of implementing a program like this on a larger scale.

The authors say: “Our study demonstrates that practice nurses can safely deliver an intervention to increase objectively measured PA levels in older people at 3 months, with a sustained effect at 12 months,” and that “… the main advantage that primary care offers is an ideal setting for delivering PA interventions in this age group and the opportunity to integrate this into routine care.”

Research Article

Funding: This paper presents independent research funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) under its Research for patient benefit programme (Grant reference number PB-PG-0909- 20055). Authors who received funding were: TH DGC CRV SMK AW SI UE PHW CB. The funding body had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests: LD is director and DB is an employee of the profit-making organisation 10 Minute CBT.

Citation: Harris T, Kerry SM, Victor CR, Ekelund U, Woodcock A, Iliffe S, et al. (2015) A Primary Care Nurse-Delivered Walking Intervention in Older Adults: PACE (Pedometer Accelerometer Consultation Evaluation)-Lift Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial. PLoS Med 12(2): e1001783. doi:10.1371/journal. pmed.1001783

Author Affiliations:

Population Health Research Institute, St. George’s University of London, UNITED KINGDOM
Pragmatic Clinical Trials Unit, Queen Mary’s University of London, UNITED KINGDOM
College of Health and Life Sciences, Brunei University London, UNITED KINGDOM
Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, NORWAY
MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, UNITED KINGDOM
Independent Psychology Research Consultant, UNITED KINGDOM
University College London, UNITED KINGDOM
Kingston University and St. George’s University of London, UNITED KINGDOM

Contact:

Tess Harris
St. George’s University of London
UNITED KINGDOM

tharris@sgul.ac.uk

Citation:

A Primary Care Nurse-Delivered Walking Intervention in Older Adults: PACE (Pedometer Accelerometer Consultation Evaluation)-Lift Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial

Tess Harris , Sally M. Kerry, Christina R. Victor, Ulf Ekelund, Alison Woodcock, Steve Iliffe, Peter H. Whincup, Carole Beighton, Michael Ussher, Elizabeth S. Limb, Lee David, Debbie Brewin, Fredrika Adams, Annabelle Rogers, Derek G. Cook
Published: February 17, 2015
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001783

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MedicalResearch.com Interview with:, Tess Harris, & St George’s University of London (2015). Physical Activity in Elders Increased By Pedometers and Nursing Input MedicalResearch.com