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Prev Med. 2008 Jun;46(6):518-24. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.02.017. Epub 2008 Mar 10.

Effectiveness of a lifestyle intervention and a structured exercise intervention in older adults.

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  • 1Department of Human Kinesiology, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, K.U.Leuven, Tervuursevest 101, 3001 Leuven, Belgium.



To evaluate the effects of a lifestyle intervention and a structured exercise intervention on physical activity in older adults.


Participants were randomly assigned to a lifestyle intervention (n=60), including an individualized home-based program supported by phone calls, or to a structured intervention (n=60) consisting of three weekly supervised sessions. Results were compared with a control group (n=66). Physical activity was measured with self-report questionnaires, pedometers, and accelerometers before the start (pretest), at the end (11 months, posttest), and after 23 months (follow-up). The study took place in Belgium from March 2004 until April 2006.


At posttest, both intervention groups had significantly increased their total physical activity compared with the control group. At follow-up, the lifestyle group showed significantly larger increases in active transportation and total steps than the control and structured group respectively. There were no longer significant differences between the structured intervention and the control group.


The structured and lifestyle interventions were equally effective at the end of the intervention. One year after the intervention the lifestyle group maintained a significant increase in physical activity, which highlights the potential of lifestyle programs in the battle against inactivity in older adults.

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