Active aging involves a general lifestyle strategy that allows preservation of both physical and mental health during the aging process. "I am Active" is a program designed to promote active aging by increased physical activity, healthy nutritional habits, and cognitive functioning. The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of this program.
Sixty-four healthy adults aged 60 years or older were recruited from senior centers and randomly allocated to an experimental group (n=31) or a control group (n=33). Baseline, post-test, and 6-month follow-up assessments were performed after the theoretical-practical intervention. Effect sizes were calculated.
At the conclusion of the program, the experimental group showed significant improvement compared with the control group in the following domains: physical activity (falls risk, balance, flexibility, self-efficacy), nutrition (self-efficacy and nutritional status), cognitive performance (processing speed and self-efficacy), and quality of life (general, health and functionality, social and economic status). Although some declines were reported, improvements at follow-up remained in self-efficacy for physical activity, self-efficacy for nutrition, and processing speed, and participants had better nutritional status and quality of life overall.
Our findings show that this program promotes improvements in domains of active aging, mainly in self-efficacy beliefs as well as in quality of life in healthy elders.