The Effect of Active Plus, a Computer-Tailored Physical Activity Intervention, on the Physical Activity of Older Adults with Chronic Illness(es)-A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial

Esmee Volders*, Catherine A. W. Bolman, Renate H. M. de Groot, Peter Verboon, Lilian Lechner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


eHealth interventions aimed at improving physical activity (PA) can reach large populations with few resources and demands on the population as opposed to centre-based interventions. Active Plus is a proven effective computer-tailored PA intervention for the older adult population focusing on PA in daily life. This manuscript describes the effects of the Active Plus intervention (N = 260) on PA of older adults with chronic illnesses (OACI), compared to a waiting list control group (N = 325). It was part of a larger randomized controlled trial (RCT) on the effects of the Active Plus intervention on cognitive functioning. OACI (>= 65 years) with at least one chronic illness were allocated to one of the conditions. Intervention group participants received PA advice. Baseline and follow-up measurements were assessed after 6 and 12 months. Intervention effects on objectively measured light PA (LPA) and moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) min/week were analysed with multilevel linear mixed-effects models adjusted for the clustered design. Intervention effects on self-reported MVPA min/week on common types of PA were analysed with two-part generalized linear mixed-effects models adjusted for the clustered design. The dropout rate was 19.1% after 6 months and 25.1% after 12 months. Analyses showed no effects on objectively measured PA. Active Plus increased the likelihood to perform self-reported cycling and gardening at six months and participants who cycled increased their MVPA min/week of cycling. Twelve months after baseline the intervention increased the likelihood to perform self-reported walking and participants who cycled at 12 months increased their MVPA min/week of cycling. Subgroup analyses showed that more vulnerable participants (higher degree of impairment, age or body mass index) benefitted more from the intervention on especially the lower intensity PA outcomes. In conclusion, Active Plus only increased PA behaviour to a limited extent in OACI 6 and 12 months after baseline measurements. The Active Plus intervention may yet be not effective enough by itself in OACI. A blended approach, where this eHealth intervention and face-to-face contact are combined, is advised to improve the effects of Active Plus on PA in this target group.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2590
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • ageing
  • accelerometer
  • self-report
  • randomized intervention
  • chronic disease
  • physical activity promotion
  • eHealth
  • LIFE

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