Active for Life

Translation of Physical Activity Programs for Mid-Life and Older Adults, 2003-2007

Sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the Active for Life (AFL) initiative investigated how two physical activity programs for adults aged 50 and older, Active Choices (AC) and Active Living Every Day (ALED), worked in community settings. Created by researchers at Stanford University, AC used lifestyle counseling and personalized telephone support to encourage older adults to be physically active. In AFL, this was a 6-month program delivered through one face-to-face meeting followed by up to eight one-on-one telephone counseling calls. ALED, which was created by the Cooper Institute and Human Kinetics Inc., also provided lifestyle counseling to promote physical activity, but in a classroom and workbook format.

During the first three years of the four-year AFL initiative, ALED was delivered as a 20-week program where participants attended weekly small group meetings, but in the last year it was shortened to 12 weekly meetings. Nine organizations received AFL grants to implement the programs during 2003-2006. Four grantees implemented the one-on-one AC model, while five implemented the group-based ALED model.

Data were collected from the AC and ALED sites for both a process and outcomes evaluation. The primary aims of the process evaluation were to:

  1. Monitor the extent to which the grantees demonstrated fidelity to the AC and ALED models in their program implementation;
  2. Assess staff experiences implementing the programs; and
  3. Assess participants' impressions of the programs.

A quasi-experimental, pre-post study design was used to assess outcomes. Primary aims of the outcomes evaluation were to evaluate the impact of AC and ALED on self-reported physical activity, and to evaluate the impact of the programs on self-reported stress, depressive symptoms, and satisfaction with body function and appearance.

Principal Investigator: Sara Wilcox, Ph.D., University of South Carolina.

To read more about the evaluation, please refer to the full report in the Additional Readings section below.