Online Physical Activity Assessment and Feedback Tool for Older Adults

Development and Validation of an Intensity & Domain Specific Online Physical Activity Assessment and Feedback Tool for Older Adults Dr Max Western (University of Bath); Dr Rosie Essery, Dr Katherine Bradbury (University of Southampton); Professor Nanette Mutrie (University of Edinburgh)

This project aims to improve older adults’ health outcomes by developing a novel digital physical activity assessment and feedback tool using the Person-Based Approach pioneered by our research team [1].

Existing physical activity measures in older adults are unreliable, and accurate measurement (e.g. accelerometers) is expensive and often unfeasible. A brief digital tool that combines self-report and digital data will help improve measurement and provide an effective intervention to increase activity and reduce sedentary behaviour.

In order to develop a successful digital tool we need to:

  1. better understand exactly what a digital tool needs to include in order to accurately measure and increase physical activity in older adults.
  2. collect evidence about the tool’s reliability and validity as a measure of, and intervention for, older adults’ physical activity.
  3. optimise the digital tool by evaluating the acceptability and utility of its features and understanding the experiences of older adults who have used it.

The project will employ qualitative and quantitative methods to develop, build and evaluate our new tool.

Firstly, we will consult older adults, field experts from academia and industry and existing literature to fully understand what a digital tool needs to include in order to accurately measure and increase physical activity in older adults.

Secondly, older adults will use the digital tool alongside existing self-report measures and gold-standard movement sensors, comparing these to assess the tool’s reliability and validity as a measure and as a brief intervention.

Finally, older adults will take part in qualitative interviews in order to evaluate the acceptability and utility of the tool’s features, and modify it to maximise effective measurement, engagement and behaviour change.

The project will produce a novel digital physical activity assessment and feedback tool that will enable older adults to move more and researchers to more accurately measure physical activity.