Examining the Delivery of a Tailored Chinese Mind-Body Exercise to Low-Income Community-Dwelling Older Latinos for Aging in Place: Pilot Feasibility Study

Author: Yan Du1, Neela Patel2, Arthur E Hernandez3, Maria Zamudio4, Shiyu Li1, Tianou Zhang5, Roman Fernandez6, Byeong Yeob Choi6, Willian Land5, Sarah Ullevig7, Vanessa Estrada-Coates8, Deborah Parra-Median9, Zenong Yin8
1 Center on Smart and Connected Health Technology, School of Nursing, UT Health San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, 7703 Floyd Curl Dr., San Antonio, US.
2 Department of Family and Community Medicine, School of Medicine, UT Health San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, San Antonio, US.
3 Dreeben School of Education, University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, TX, San Antonio, US.
4 Alamo Colleges District-North Vista College, San Antonio, TX, San Antonio, US.
5 Department of Kinesiology, the University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, San Antonio, US.
6 Department of Population Health Science, School of Medicine, UT Health San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, San Antonio, US.
7 College for Health, Community and Policy, the University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, San Antonio, US.
8 Department of Public Health, the University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, San Antonio, US.
9 Latino Research Institute, Latino Studies, the University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, Austin, US.
Conference/Journal: JMIR Form Res
Date published: 2022 Aug 22
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.2196/40046. , Word Count: 434

Older Latinos are disproportionally affected by various chronic conditions such as impairments in physical and cognitive function, which are essential for healthy aging and independent living.

This study was: 1) to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of FITxOlder, a 12-week mind-body exercise program, in community dwelling low-income predominantly older Latinos; and 2) to assess the preliminary effects of FITxOlder on health parameters relevant to healthy aging and independent living.

This study is a 12-week single-arm Stage 1B feasibility study with a pre- and post- study design. 13 older adults (mean age=76.4±7.9; 85% Latinos) of a congregate meals program in a senior center were enrolled in the study. The FITxOlder was a tailored Chinese mind-body exercise using Five Animal Frolics, led by a bilingual community health worker (CHW) to practice twice a week at the senior center and facilitated by mobile health technology (mHealth) to practice at home with incremental goal from once a week to at least three times a week. Feasibility and acceptability of the study were examined using both quantitative and qualitative data. Healthy aging related outcomes (e.g., physical and cognitive function, activities of daily living) were assessed using paired t-tests. Qualitative interview data was analyzed using content analysis.

The attendance rate of the 24 exercise sessions was high (94.4%, 22.7/24), ranging from 93.0% (1.8/2) to 96.8% (1.9/2) over the 12 weeks. The participants were compliant to the incremental weekly home and program exercise goal with 54.6% (2.8 days/week) and 63.3% (4.7 days/week) meeting the home and program goal in the program, respectively. Approximately 82% (10/12) to 92% (11/12) participants provided favorable feedback on survey questions regarding the study and program such as the program content and support, delivery by CHW, enjoyment and appeal of Five Animal Frolics, study burden and incentives, and safety concerns. The qualitative interview data revealed that FITxOlder was well-accepted; participants perceived enjoyment and health benefits, and would like to continue to practice it and share with others. The 5-times sit to stand test (mean changes at posttest=-1.62, p<.001; Cohen's d=0.97) and SF-12 physical component scores (mean changes at posttest=5.71, p<.001; Cohen's d=0.88) exhibited changes with large effect size from baseline to 12 weeks; other parameters showed small or medium effect size.

The research findings indicated that the CHW-led and mHealth-facilitated Chinese Qigong exercise program is feasible and acceptable among low-income older Latino adults. The trending health benefits of this 12-week FITxOlder program might be promising to promote physical activity engagement in underserved older populations to improve health outcomes for healthy aging and independent living. Future research with larger samples and longer interventions is warranted to assess the health benefits of FITxOlder program and its suitability.

PMID: 35997685 DOI: 10.2196/40046