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J Nutr Health Aging. 2012 Apr;16(4):370-7.

Efficacy of a home-based intervention programme on the physical activity level and functional ability of older people using domestic services: a randomised study.

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Service de Médecine Gériatrique-Centre Hospitalier Lyon Sud, Groupement Hospitalier Sud, Pierre-Bénite, France.



Our main objective was to assess whether a home-based program supervised by home helpers (HH) during their normal working hours can prevent excessive sedentariness (mainly maximum walking time and distance) and preserve functional status in elderly people at risk for frailty or disability and using domestic services.


A four-month, open label, randomised trial with two groups called "prevention" and "control".


In the homes of study participants.


The participants were all over 78 years old, lived independently at home, and received the visits of HHs at least once a week.


The intervention combined a self-administered exercise program, with 10 g amino-acid supplementation under the supervision of HHs.


Main outcome measures included physical activity (the PASE questionnaire), functional tests, nutritional and autonomy scores, and compliance (50% or more was considered satisfactory). Non-parametric methods were used for comparisons between the two groups. A linear regression model was fitted to assess the effect of the intervention on the relative variation of outcomes, adjusted for unbalanced baseline co-variables.


One hundred and two persons (prevention n=53, control n=49) with a median age of 85 years were included. Their median Activities of Daily Living and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) scores were 6 and 7 respectively. Twenty-three (44%) were good compliers for both interventions. The maximum walking time remained stable while decreasing by 25% in the control group (p=0.0015); and fewer participants had a worsened IADL score in the prevention group (p=0.05). The baseline IADL Score was significantly associated with good compliance to the prevention program (p=0.0011). In good compliers, maximum walking distance and maximum walking time increased by 29.15% (0.0 to 66.7) and 33.3% (-20.0 to 50.0) respectively.


This study confirms the feasibility of a prevention program supervised by HHs, and some benefit from the intervention and identifies predictors for better compliance. It will help in the design of prevention trials for elderly people at risk for frailty.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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