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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2007 May;55(5):674-83.

Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders pilot study: recruitment and baseline characteristics.

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Department of Health and Exercise Science, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27109, USA.



To describe several recruitment parameters derived from the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders pilot (LIFE-P) study for use in a full-scale trial of mobility disability prevention.


A description of the recruiting methods and baseline characteristics of a four-site randomized, controlled trial testing the effectiveness of a physical activity intervention at preventing mobility disability.


The Cooper Institute, Dallas, Texas; Stanford University, Stanford, California; University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


Community-living persons aged 70 to 89 who were able to walk 400 m within 15 minutes and were at high risk for disability (scoring<10 on the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB)) but without comorbidity severe enough to preclude full study participation.


Measures of efficiency included number of randomized participants per recruitment technique and costs per randomized participant across randomization techniques.


The 9-month recruiting period resulted in 3,141 telephone screens, of which 424 (13.5%) participants were randomized (68.9% women, 25.7% minorities, 41.5% with SPPB scores<8). Forty percent of telephone-screened participants were excluded primarily because of regular participation in physical activity, health exclusions, or self-reported mobility disability. Of the 1,252 persons attempting the physical performance assessments, 41% scored above the SPPB cutoff. Of the 566 remaining eligible, 9.9% could not complete the 400-m walk, and another 18.9% had various medical exclusions. Direct mailing was the most productive recruitment strategy (61.6% of all randomized participants). Recruitment cost approximately $439 per randomized participant.


The LIFE study achieved all recruitment goals and demonstrated the feasibility of recruiting high-risk community-dwelling older persons for trials of disability prevention in diverse geographic areas.

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