Evaluating a community lifestyle intervention: adherence and the role of perceived support
Barter-Godfrey, Sarah, Taket, Ann and Rowlands, Gillian 2007, Evaluating a community lifestyle intervention: adherence and the role of perceived support, Primary health care research and development, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 345-354.
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Background Interventions that increase participation in physical activity and positive dietary changes may improve the health of the community through modifying the lifestyle contribution to preventable disease. However, previous evaluations have identified concerns about inequitable and unsustainable uptake, adherence and retention within healthy lifestyle schemes.
Intervention study The intervention evaluated here was designed to be a 12-week intervention for participants, offering free testing of physiological indicators of health, one-to-one health advice and a range of exercise, activity and cookery classes, at no or reduced cost, at local venues throughout the community. This paper reports the findings from a small qualitative study undertaken to explore the experiences and reflections of those who took part in the intervention to different extents, including those who fully and partially participated as well as those who dropped out or declined to take part.
Method Sixteen respondents took part in semi-structured interviews (5 male, 11 female; 8 black, 8 white; age range 25–85).
Findings The findings suggest that participants assessed the healthy lifestyle intervention in terms of how well it met their pre-existing needs and opportunities for change, and that they selected the aspects of the scheme that suited them, interested them and were perceived as delivering salient results. There is also evidence for a stronger role of perceived support in influencing uptake and maintenance of lifestyle changes, and that support was conceptualised by participants as one of the services offered by the scheme. Perceived support and related perceptions of reliance on the scheme to sustain lifestyle changes also suggested that in some cases full adherence to a scheme is not as likely to produce long-term adherence to lifestyle changes as compared to partial, but more realistic adherence and smaller lifestyle changes. Implications for delivering and evaluating healthy lifestyle interventions are also discussed.
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