An exploratory study examining communication about sedentary behaviour to older adults


Over the past decade, sedentary behaviour has emerged as an important health behaviour that is distinct from physical activity. Older adults accumulate the greatest amount of sedentary time compared to other age groups, yet, few studies have identified effective strategies to reduce the amount of time older adults spend sitting. The purpose of this study was to guide the development of effective communication strategies about reducing sedentary behaviour for older adults residing in assisted living facilities. More specifically, the purpose of this study was to explore perceptions and feelings about sedentary behaviour messages with a specific focus on (a) the written/verbal and visual content of messages, and (b) message-framing. 30 older adults (25 women and 5 men) from assisted-living facilities in Lethbridge, Alberta, participated in a focus group (n = 7). Focus groups were directed by semi-structured interview guides that asked participants about their perceptions, beliefs, motives, and recommendations regarding sedentary behaviour. They were also asked to view six messages with information about sedentary behaviour using varied formats and images; all messages were presented using either gain- and loss-framed language. Focus groups were transcribed and analyzed using a thematic approach. Findings revealed the complexity of communicating about sedentary behaviour to older adults. This presentation will shed light on the participants' understanding and awareness of sedentary behaviour, the images and information that they found motivating, recommendations for what to include or avoid when communicating this information, and will highlight inconsistencies and resistance participants had toward sedentary behaviour reduction messages.

Acknowledgments: This project was funding by the University of Lethbridge Community of Research Excellence Development Opportunities