"I Don’t Believe in Age; I Believe in Staying Enthusiastic": An Exploratory Qualitative Study into Recruitment Strategies Stimulating Middle-Aged and Older Adults to Join Physical Activity Interventions

Janet Boekhout *, Rieteke Hut, L. Lechner, D.A. Kroes - Peels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Many middle-aged and older adults (MAOAs) do not engage in sufficient physical activity (PA), despite its well-documented benefits for healthy aging. Existing PA interventions often fail to reach or engage the target population effectively. This study investigates MAOAs’ preferences for recruitment strategies to optimize the reach and uptake of PA interventions, thereby enhancing their impact on healthy aging and public health. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 39 MAOA participants (69% female, mean age = 69.46, SD = 7.07), guided by McGuire’s Theory on Persuasive Communication. Factors related to the source, message content, channel, receiver characteristics and target behavior of recruitment strategies were analyzed. Our findings suggest a preference for trustworthy sources (e.g., healthcare professionals over commercial entities) and positive, non-ageist messaging. MAOAs vary in their channel preferences but emphasize the importance of personalization. Despite heterogeneity, MAOAs commonly perceive themselves as sufficiently active, indicating a need for improved knowledge on what constitutes sufficient PA, as well as easy enrollment or trying out interventions. Tailoring recruitment strategies to diverse MAOA segments based on age seems crucial for effective engagement. Future research could explore quantitative research into how communication factors relate to various target population characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number80
Number of pages15
JournalGeriatrics
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024

Keywords

  • physical activity
  • older adults
  • middle aged
  • interventions
  • recruitment strategies
  • implementation
  • healthy aging

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