Correlates of and physical activity counseling effect on attitude toward physical activity among older people
Among older adults, moderate regular physical activity, even if below the level to show fitness effect, leads to multiple health benefits. However, despite well-documented benefits of physical activity, the majority of adults in developed countries do not exercise. There is a need to investigate what influences attitude toward physical activity among older people to develop suitable health promotion scheme. The purpose of this study was to identify correlates of attitude toward physical activity and effect of physical activity counseling program on attitude change among older people. The data was drawn from the screening and counseling for physical activity and mobility (SCAMOB) project conducted by Finnish gerontology research center. It was a two-year, single blinded, randomized controlled trial on the effectiveness of individualized physical activity counseling provided by physiotherapist to sedentary older people. The participants were community-dwelling adults born between 1922 and 1928 who resided in Jyväskylä, Finland (N=632) in 2003. Results showed positive attitudes toward physical activity were associated with positive self-rated health, higher education, and male gender; negative attitudes toward physical activity were associated with negative self-rated health and older age. In conclusion, a physical activity counseling program for sedentary older people may not offer effective means of attitude change toward physical activity. However, the predominating positively perceived importance of physical activity (ceiling effect) limited the degree of attitude change possible, which is the main limitation of this study. Future studies should target those older people who have more negative attitude toward physical activity to avoid ceiling effect and investigate the mechanism of attitude change among older people. ...
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