Anselm's using a number of community outreach methods to involve seniors in a trial 5-day a week exercise program. The health belief model would be central to the campaign used for outreach, with the intent of encouraging involvement of roughly 30 participants over the duration of a full year. This experimental group would be compared to a control group that would remain engaged in St. Anselm's already existing 3-day-a-week tai-chi program.
Researchers will seek out a previously tested and confirmed self-report inventory on physical, mental and emotional well-being. The properly vetted instrument will be used to gauge the personal health evaluation of each respondent with the hypothesis that those in the experimental group will produce more positive index scores. The inventory would be administered four times over the course of the year on a quarterly basis. Hereafter, statistical analysis will rely on the use of a t-test, an appropriate mode of assessing comparative inventory scores and their meaning in the case of this particular study design. According to Trochim (2006), the t-test is a useful way of examining two groups of distinct statistical difference. Here, the methodology would cast those in the new activity program and those in the pre-existing activity program in contrast to one another, with the expectation that those in the former population will produce more favorable inventory responses at the end of a year's duration than will those in the latter population.
The human subjects of the grant proposal are those groups of seniors assigned to both the control and experimental populations. This would call for the creation of the year-long trial five-day-a-week program and, consequently, the use of information campaign strategies reliant upon the health belief model in order to court participation. Indeed, the health belief model is an appropriate way to gain a better understanding of what causes people to make certain health behavior decisions and a way to use that understanding to make improvements. It seems reasonable to deduce that a perspective through this model might help to reveal such possible causes for a sedentary lifestyle as physical limitations, a lifestyle aversion to physical activity or an emotional depression. Therefore, St. Anselm's would use the print, media and community resources at its disposal to encourage volunteer participation for the first 30 volunteers over the age of 65, with no limitations regarding gender, ethnicity or pre-existing health condition. Volunteers for participation in the health self-report inventory among those remaining in the three-day-a-week program would also be sought by simply using volunteer outreach strategies absent the use of the health belief model.
Among participants in the experimental group, the use of the health belief model should help to encourage a greater interest in daily physical activity as a way of pursuing better health outcomes. Ultimately, the illumination of such connections could be considered a valuable means to addressing and improving existent living conditions for those participants in the experimental group. This would also answer to the demand cited by Marques et al. (2011) for more conscientiously designed exercise programs. As Marques et al. note, quality control is an important gap in many of the existent programs encouraging adult physical activity. This denotes that, in the event that respondents in the experimental group produce significantly higher inventory scores than their control group counterparts, the trial program could be demonstrated to have the qualities sought in a more comprehensive program. This can be used to justify the grant expenditure sought by St. Anselm's as a way of accommodating all seniors instead of just those in the experimental population.
Public Health Significance:
The public health significance of this proposal is manifold. Most importantly, the importance of this grant proposal centers on the opportunities represented to improve the quality and length of life for the elderly. According to Nordqvist (2006), there is a direct connection between a higher propensity toward physical activities and a greater life expectancy. This means that there is a considerable public health benefit to modeling a program that can be shown to provide seniors with physical activity instruction and access on a daily or near-daily basis. Receipt of the grant sought here would allow St. Anselm's to demonstrate the pertinence of the intended model by conducting the year-long program and tracking its results. By exhibiting the benefits of physical activity to the health, well-being, emotional contentment and longevity of seniors, St. Anselm's would intend to provide a template for other community centers and non-profit organizations. In addition to demonstrating the value of providing regular physical activity to seniors, St. Anselm's would intend to provide a blueprint to other such community agencies or organizations for ways of reaching out to and servicing at-risk demographics.
Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ)(2002). Physical Activities and Older Americans. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Kovatch, S.; Smith, M. & Segal, J. (2012). Senior Exercise and Fitness Tips. Helpguide.org.
Marques, a.I.; Rosa, M.J.; Soares, P.; Santos, R.; Mota, J. & Carvalho, J. (2011). Evaluation of physical activity programmes for elderly people - a descriptive study using the EFQM' criteria. BMC Public Health, 11, p. 123.
Michigan Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports. (2000). Position Statement: Importance of Physical Activity for the Elderly. MDCH.state.mi.us.
Nordqvist, C. (2006). Physical Activity Helps Elderly Live Longer. Medical News Today.
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