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Prev Med. 2003 Jan;36(1):17-29.

Controlled comparison of retention and adherence in home- vs center-initiated exercise interventions in women ages 40-65 years: The S.W.E.A.T. Study (Sedentary Women Exercise Adherence Trial).

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Department of Medicine, University of Western Australia, Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, and HeartSearch, Western Australia.



In an 18-month exercise intervention in previously sedentary older women (40-65 years), we examined whether an initial 6 months of supervised exercise leads to greater long-term retention and adherence to regular physical activity than an unsupervised home-based program and whether these outcomes are influenced by the exercise intensity.


Women (N = 126) were recruited from the community and randomly assigned to either center-based or home-based exercise three times/week. The center-based group attended supervised sessions for 6 months, while after 10 initial sessions the home-based group exercised at home. After 6 months both groups were home-based for a further 12 months. Within each arm, subjects were further randomized to exercise at either moderate or vigorous intensity.


The center-based group had higher retention than the home-based (97, 94, 81 versus 87, 76, and 61%) at 6, 12, and 18 months, respectively (P < 0.05). At 6 months, adherence was higher in the center-based group (84 versus 63%, P < 0.001) and energy expenditure was higher at 6 (P < 0.05) and 12 (P < 0.01) months. At 18 months, retention was higher with moderate exercise (P < 0.05), while adherence was similar with both intensities.


An initial 6 months of center-based exercise enhanced retention in both the short and the long term and promoted short-term adherence and energy expenditure. Long-term, moderate exercise retained more subjects, but had little influence on adherence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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