The Agewell trial: a pilot randomised controlled trial of a behaviour change intervention to promote healthy ageing and reduce risk of dementia in later life.
Tudor Edwards, R
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BACKGROUND: Lifestyle factors represent prime targets for behaviour change interventions to promote healthy ageing and reduce dementia risk. We evaluated a goal-setting intervention aimed at promoting increased cognitive and physical activity and improving mental and physical fitness, diet and health. METHODS: This was a pilot randomised controlled trial designed to guide planning for a larger-scale investigation, provide preliminary evidence regarding efficacy, and explore feasibility and acceptability. Primary outcomes were engagement in physical and cognitive activity. Participants aged over 50 living independently in the community were recruited through a community Agewell Centre. Following baseline assessment participants were randomly allocated to one of three conditions: control (IC) had an interview in which information about activities and health was discussed; goal-setting (GS n = 24) had an interview in which they set behaviour change goals relating to physical, cognitive and social activity, health and nutrition; and goal-setting with mentoring (GM, n = 24) had the goal-setting interview followed by bi-monthly telephone mentoring. Participants and researchers were blinded to group assignment. Participants were reassessed after 12 months. RESULTS: Seventy-five participants were randomised (IC n = 27, GS n = 24, GM n = 24). At 12-month follow-up, the two goal-setting groups, taken together (GS n = 21, GM n = 22), increased their level of physical (effect size 0.37) and cognitive (effect size 0.15) activity relative to controls (IC n = 27). In secondary outcomes, the two goal-setting groups taken together achieved additional benefits compared to control (effect sizes ≥ 0.2) in memory, executive function, cholesterol level, aerobic capacity, flexibility, balance, grip strength, and agility. Adding follow-up mentoring produced further benefits compared to goal-setting alone (effect sizes ≥ 0.2) in physical activity, body composition, global cognition and memory, but not in other domains. Implementation of the recruitment procedure, assessment and intervention was found to be feasible and the approach taken was acceptable to participants, with no adverse effects. CONCLUSIONS: A brief, low-cost goal-setting intervention is feasible and acceptable, and has the potential to achieve increased activity engagement. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN30080637.
This trial was funded by Medical Research Council grant G1001888/1 to LC, JVH, IRJ, JT and CJW. The funding body played no role in the design of the study, in collection, analysis and interpretation of data, in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to submit the manuscript for publication. We acknowledge the support of Age Cymru Gwynedd a Môn including John Clifford Jones, Maldwyn Roberts, Stephen Williams and Mici Plwm. We would like to thank Sharman Harris and Catrin Searell, Department of Clinical Chemistry, Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor, the volunteers at the Nefyn Agewell Centre, and all the members of the Nefyn Agewell Centre, and especially all those who took part in the research project. We are grateful to Professor Carol Brayne, Cambridge University, Professor Martin Knapp, London School of Economics, Professor Mike Martin, Zürich University, and Professor Robin Morris, King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry, who acted as external advisors to the project. Special thanks go to Andrew Brand for statistical advice.
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Vol. 15, pp. 25 - 44
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