Background Many older Hispanics/Latinos are physically inactive and suffer the harmful health consequences associated with prolonged periods of inactivity. Negative age attributions that equate getting older with “slowing down” reinforce this inactive behavior. We implemented a community-based exercise intervention among insufficiently active older Hispanics/Latinos with a randomized trial of an attribution-retraining program, ¡Caminemos! (Let’s Walk!), and measured the effect of the program on walking behavior. Methods Five hundred and seventy-two older Hispanics/Latinos (≥60 years) were enrolled in an exercise program that randomly assigned participants to the exercise class and one of two conditions: (a) treatment (attribution retraining to dispel the notion that physical activity inevitably ceases with age) or (b) control (generic health education). Data were collected at baseline and follow-up (1, 12, and 24 months). Physical activity was determined through pedometer data and the Yale Physical Activity Survey. We also measured the intervention effects on age-expectations, self-efficacy expectations, and outcome expectations for physical activity. Mixed-effects regression models were used to determine intervention effects on prospective measures of physical activity and intrapersonal expectations. Results The sample had a mean age of 73 years (SD = 6.8) and was 77% female, and 76% of the sample reported income <$20,000. At baseline, control and treatment groups walked about 3000 steps/day. By 24 months, participants in both arms of the intervention maintained greater than 10,000 mean steps/day, but the difference between the groups was not statistically significant. In analyses adjusted for age, sex, education, income, health status, and acculturation, participants in both trial arms increased their mean numbers of steps at 12 and 24 months, with the treatment group showing a greater number of mean steps compared to the controls at 12 months. Conclusions In this group of physically inactive older Hispanics/Latinos, attribution retraining in combination with an exercise class was superior to the exercise class alone with regard to increasing walking behavior. This success was sustained at 12 months (the pre-defined primary study outcome) but not at 24 months. For older Hispanics/Latinos, enrollment in an attribution-retraining exercise program can improve an inactive lifestyle.
- older adults
- physical activity
- behavior change
- attribution retraining
Piedra, L. M., Andrade, F. C. D., Hernandez, R., Trejo, L., Prohaska, T. R., & Sarkisian, C. A. (2018). Let’s walk! Age reattribution and physical activity among older Hispanic/Latino adults: results from the ¡Caminemos! Randomized trial. BMC Public Health, 18(1), 964. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-5850-6