The daily activity study of health (DASH): A pilot randomized controlled trial to enhance physical activity in sedentary older adults

Meishan Ai, Timothy P. Morris, Cora Ordway, Elizabeth Quinoñez, Frank D'Agostino, Susan Whitfield-Gabrieli, Charles H. Hillman, Dominika M. Pindus, Edward McAuley, Nancy Mayo, Adrián Noriega de la Colina, Siobhan Phillips, Arthur F. Kramer, Maiya Geddes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sedentary behavior increases the risk for multiple chronic diseases, early mortality, and accelerated cognitive decline in older adults. Interventions to reduce sedentary behavior among older adults are needed to improve health outcomes and reduce the burden on healthcare systems. We designed a randomized controlled trial that uses a self-affirmation manipulation and gain-framed health messaging to effectively reduce sedentary behavior in older adults. This message-based intervention lasts 6 weeks, recruiting 80 healthy but sedentary older adults from the community, between the ages of 60 and 95 years. Participants are randomly assigned to one of two groups: 1) an intervention group, which receives self-affirmation followed by gain-framed health messages daily or 2) a control group, which receives daily loss-framed health messages only. Objective physical activity engagement is measured by accelerometers. Accelerometers are deployed a week before, during, and the last week of intervention to examine potential changes in sedentary time and physical activity engagement. Participants undertake structural and functional (resting and task-based) MRI scans, neuropsychological tests, computerized behavioral measures, and neurobehavioral inventories at baseline and after the intervention. A 3-month follow-up assesses the long-term maintenance of any engendered behaviors from the intervention period. This study will assess the effectiveness of a novel behavioral intervention at reducing sedentarism in older adults and examine the neurobehavioral mechanisms underlying any such changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106405
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Affective psychology
  • Positive messaging
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Sedentary behavior
  • Self-affirmation
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'The daily activity study of health (DASH): A pilot randomized controlled trial to enhance physical activity in sedentary older adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this