Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr Robert Petrella


Objectives: Physical activity guidelines for older adults target high-intensity activities (i.e. increasing exercise), with less attention on low-intensity activities (i.e. reducing/interrupting sedentary behaviours) to improve health. Mobile health (mHealth) holds promise for engaging patients in self-management of chronic diseases. The purpose of this research was to prescribe physical activity of various intensities (i.e. sedentary through exercise) in primary care paired with mHealth for self-management.

Methods: 60 older adults (55-75yr) were randomly assigned to four groups: one control, and three receiving mHealth kits plus prescription for a specific intensity of physical activity (exercise, sedentary or both). Clinical measures (anthropometrics, blood pressure, aerobic fitness, glucose, lipid profile) were conducted in a primary care office. During the 12-week intervention, participants remotely submitted measures for physical activity, blood pressure, body weight, and blood glucose. Six-months post-intervention, aerobic fitness was measured and interviews were conducted.

Results: Clinical and remotely submitted measures improved (p

Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first report of sedentary behaviour prescription in primary care. Findings support the ongoing practice of measuring lifestyle-related risk factors (e.g. body weight status, blood pressure, cardiorespiratory fitness) in the primary care setting for chronic disease management and prevention. Novel results demonstrate clinical benefits of prescribing changes to sedentary behaviours among older men and women. Additionally, results support the physiological and behavioural benefits of pairing physical activity prescription with mHealth for self-monitoring among at-risk older adults.