Prevention Research: The Center for Healthy Aging Demonstration Project
The number of Americans over 65 years of age has increased rapidly in recent years. This population of older Americans will increase even more as the Baby Boomers begin reaching 65 in the year 2010. One of the greatest challenges in public health today is the increasing number of older adults who suffer disproportionately from chronic diseases and disability. Chronic diseases can be addressed by modifying risk factors and are not an inevitable consequence of aging. There is a great need to design community based multiple risk factor interventions that emphasize disease prevention. The Center for Healthy Aging recruited a population of healthy, at risk, older adults in southwestern Pennsylvania for a randomized community based intervention program. The program targeted adults aged ?65, based upon "10 Keys"™ to Healthy Aging. The intervention evaluated (1) Brief Education and Counseling Intervention or (2) Brief Education and Counseling Intervention plus a Physical Activity and Dietary intervention for individuals with hypertension. Recruitment strategies included a direct mail campaign using voter registration lists and telephone follow-up. Health assessment data was collected at six month intervals through 24 month follow-up. Health behavior counseling and the Prevention in Practice Report were provided to participants in both programs as tools to advocate behavior change. A total of 951 households responded (8.2% response rate) and 541 participants from 444 households were randomized. After 24 months adherence to the "10 Keys"™ improved significantly in a number of areas. There was, however, no difference between the two groups in physical activity or changes in performance based measures related to physical activity. This prevention program resulted in significant reduction in key risk factors, immunization and screening over 2 years to established prevention guidelines for older adults. Further public health research is needed on the use of health advisors/health counselors to maximize public health prevention in individuals over 65. Empowering individuals regarding their own risk factor status for screenings, immunizations, and lifestyle changes could successfully impact the quality of health in community settings.
Advisor:N. Carole Milas, MS, RD, LDN; Lewis H. Kuller, MD, DrPH; Steven M. Albert, PhD, MSPH, MA; Kathleen M. McTigue, MD, MS, MPH; Constance M. Bayles, PhD, FACSM; Anne B. Newman, MD, MPH; Robert Boudreau, PhD
School:University of Pittsburgh
School Location:USA - Pennsylvania
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:01/29/2009