Study Found That New Programs to Keep Seniors Active Benefit From Partnering With Existing Organizations

Evaluating the diffusion of a model physical activity program for older adults
    • December 15, 2004

Investigators at the University of California, San Francisco evaluated the feasibility of providing the Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors (CHAMPS), a public health model to promote increased lifetime physical activity, through organizations with the infrastructure and expertise to conduct the program.

Key Findings

The principal investigators reported the following findings in a report to RWJF:

  • All groups were aware of the positive benefits of physical activity.
  • Representatives from all workforce sectors could name physical activity resources in their communities, but noted persistent unmet needs.
  • The CHAMPS program was seen as feasible if integrated into existing resources, but concern over cost was present across many sectors.
  • All sectors saw health care providers, especially physicians, as an important point of entry into a new program since most older people were thought to see a doctor.
  • Health department administrators in the selected communities differed in how easily they felt the CHAMPS model could be integrated into their infrastructures.
  • Service implementers felt stretched thin and were emphatic in their need for extra funding, staff and space to implement and conduct any new program.
  • Health care providers' interest in a CHAMPS-like program was tempered by their perceived barriers to its implementation.
  • Most physical activity instructors did not obtain a medical history or physician clearance for people in their exercise classes.
  • Barriers exist at all levels to implementing a physical activity program: "Getting the word out" and funding were major concerns.