Levels of physical activity decline with age. Some of the most disadvantaged individuals in society, such as those from lower socio-economic position, are also the most inactive. Increasing physical activity levels, particularly among those most inactive, is a public health priority. Peer-led physical activity interventions may offer a model to increase physical activity in the older adult population. This study aims to test the feasibility of a peer-led, multicomponent physical activity intervention in socio-economically disadvantaged community dwelling older adults.
The Medical Research Council framework for developing and evaluating complex interventions will be used to design and test the feasibility of a randomised controlled trial (RCT) of a multicomponent peer-led physical activity intervention. Data will be collected at baseline, immediately after the intervention (12 weeks) and 6 months after baseline measures. The pilot RCT will provide information on recruitment of peer mentors and participants and attrition rates, intervention fidelity, and data on the variability of the primary outcome (minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity measured with an accelerometer). The pilot trail will also assess the acceptability of the intervention and identify potential resources needed to undertake a definitive study. Data analyses will be descriptive and include an evaluation of eligibility, recruitment, and retention rates. The findings will be used to estimate the sample size required for a definitive trial. A detailed process evaluation using qualitative and quantitative methods will be conducted with a variety of stakeholders to identify areas of success and necessary improvements.
This paper describes the protocol for the ‘Walk with Me’ pilot RCT which will provide the information necessary to inform the design and delivery of a fully powered trial should the Walk with Me intervention prove feasible.