Health Promotion In Older Chinese: 12-Month Cluster RCT Of Pedometry And Peer Support.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • DJ Macfarlane
  • B Guo
  • BM Cheung
  • SM McGhee
  • KL Chou
  • TH Lam
  • B Tomlinson


PURPOSE: Ageing in conjunction with decreasing physical activity is associated with a range of health problems. Simple, low-maintenance, population-based means of promoting activity to counteract the age-associated decline are required. We therefore assessed the impact ofpedometry and buddy support to increase physical activity. METHODS: We undertook a clustered randomised trial (HKCTR-346) of 24 community centres involving 399 older Chinese participants (≥60 years). Centres were randomly allocated to 1) pedometry and buddy; 2) pedometry and no-buddy; 3) no-pedometry and buddy; 4) no pedometry and no-buddy with a 2×2 factorial design. The trial simultaneously tested the individual and combined effects of the interventions. The intervention groups also received monthly organised group activities to provide encouragement and support. Outcome measures were assessed at 6 and 12 months, including physical fitness and activity and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors (anthropometry and blood pressure). RESULTS: From the 24 centres, 356 volunteers (89.2%) completed the study. Those receiving the interventions had higher mean physical activity levels at 12-months of 1820 (95%CI 1360, 2290) Metabolic Equivalent (MET) minutes per week and 1260 (780, 1740) MET·min·wk, respectively relative to the decrease in the control groups. The buddy peer support intervention significantly improved mean aerobic fitness (95%CI 12 (4, 21)%), and reduced both body fat (-0.6 (-1.1, 0.0)%) and time to complete the 2.5m get-up-and-go test (-0.27 (-0.53, -0.01)s). No other improvements in the CVD risk factors were observed. The combination of motivationaltools was no better than the individual interventions. CONCLUSIONS: Both motivational interventions increased physical activity levels, and the buddy-style improved fitness. These tools could be useful adjuncts in the prevention of obesity and age-related complications.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1157-1166
Number of pages10
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2011