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J Rehabil Res Dev. 2008;45(1):31-42.

Project LIFE--Learning to Improve Fitness and Function in Elders: methods, design, and baseline characteristics of randomized trial.

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  • 1Durham Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Durham, NC 27705, USA.


Insufficient levels of physical activity have significant clinical consequences. Primary care settings typically do not emphasize physical activity counseling. We describe the design, methods, and baseline characteristics of "Learning to Improve Fitness and Function in Elders," a two-armed randomized controlled trial that assesses whether physical activity counseling improves the physical function of older veterans. A physical activity counseling program, partially administered by primary care providers, advocating 30 min of walking 5 days a week and 15 min of lower-limb strength training 3 days a week will be compared with usual care. The multicomponent counseling program consists of yearlong (1) telephone counseling, (2) automated and in-person provider counseling, and (3) tailored mailed materials. Physical activity will be assessed with the Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors. Physical function will be assessed by gait speed (primary end point), 400 m walk time, chair stands, balance tests, and self-reported physical function and disability. Self-reports of chronic illness, symptoms, pain, health-related quality of life, self-efficacy, and motivation will also be assessed. A total of 400 veterans, aged 70 to 92, have enrolled and are currently receiving multicomponent physical activity counseling or usual care.

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