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J Okla State Med Assoc. 2001 Oct;94(10):455-60.

Effects of a community-based intervention to increase activity in American Indian elders.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, USA.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a community-based exercise course applied to a group of American Indians (AI) who, because of physician recommendation and/or self-motivation, desired to increase their physical activity. Changes in physiological measurements and self-perceived measurements were determined following a moderate-intensity exercise program implemented through a randomized controlled trial to a population of American Indian elders between the ages of 55 and 75 living in an urban area. It was hypothesized that the exercise subjects would show improvement in all of the study variables examined, including three subjective measurements in emotional health, seven subjective measurements in physical health, and several physiological indices. The subjects participated in a six-week exercise class designed for healthy elderly persons as well as for those struggling from arthritis, heart disease, obesity, and/or non-insulin dependent diabetes. Results were measured using both subjective self-perceived and objective physiological measurements; T-tests were used to analyze the data, using subjects as their own controls and using a separate control group. Following the intervention, the exercise participants significantly improved their self-perceived physical health (p = 0.001), emotional health (p = 0.023), and personal appearance (p = 0.025) when compared with baseline values. The exercise subjects also significantly increased the self-perceived frequency with which they performed chores that gave them exercise (p = 0.035) and significantly increased the self-perceived frequency that they participated in activities specifically for exercise (p = 0.023) when compared with pre-intervention measurements. A corresponding trend in objective indices was also observed: following the intervention period, exercise participants were found to significantly lower their systolic blood pressure (p = 0.046) and significantly lower their respirations (p = 0.048) as compared with initial values. Findings of this study suggest that senior Al adults who participated in the exercise program subjectively and objectively improved their health status. The authors think that this type of program would be an excellent resource for physicians to recommend to their eldrly patients in need of increased physical activity. A literature search found no previously published clinical data documenting the response of Al elders to excercises that developed flexibility, muscular strength, and muscular endurance.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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