Physical activity and health promotion for older adults in public housing

D. M. Buchner, R. M. Nicola, M. L Martin, D. L. Patrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Designing health promotion and disease prevention (HPDP) programs for older residents of public housing is hampered by a lack of information about residents' needs and interests. This study addressed whether residents have greater needs for lifestyle modification or for preventive care and assessed interest in programs emphasizing physical activity. Methods: Older residents (n = 199) of public housing facilities in Seattle were surveyed to assess HPDP needs. A comparison of residents with older HMO enrollees (n = 2,289) identified which needs were relatively greater in residents of public housing. Residents' interest in physical activity programs was assessed by interviewing residents and by observing their interest in an exercise class. Results: The majority of residents could benefit from physical activity programs (75% of residents reported less than 60 minutes per week of exercise); fewer residents could benefit from smoking cessation programs (21%) and alcohol counseling (4%). The largest difference between residents and HMO enrollees was the greater need of residents for physical activity promotion. Residents and HMO enrollees reported similar use of preventive care services. Though residents seldom identified physical inactivity as a major concern, residents demonstrated interest in physical activity programs. Eighteen (41%) of 44 residents participated regularly or irregularly in an exercise class offered at their facility. When the class was scheduled to be discontinued, residents successfully lobbied city government to sustain the class. Conclusions: The results suggest promoting physical activity should be a major goal of HPDP programs for older residents of public housing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-62
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number6 SUPPL.
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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