What is the effect of health coaching on physical activity participation in people aged 60 years and over? A systematic review of randomised controlled trials

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Abstract

Background

Physical inactivity is common in older age, yet increased activity benefits older people in terms of preventing chronic disease and maximising independence. Health coaching is a behaviour change intervention that has been shown to increase physical activity in clinical populations. This systematic review and meta-analysis investigated the effect of health coaching on physical activity, mobility, quality of life and mood in older people.

Methods

MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, PsycINFO, PEDro, SPORTDiscus, LILACS and CINAHL databases were used to identify randomised controlled trials which evaluated the effect of health coaching on physical activity (primary outcome) among people aged 60+. Secondary outcomes were mobility, quality of life and mood. We calculated standardised mean differences (SMDs, Hedges’ g) with 95% CIs from random effects meta-analyses.

Results

27 eligible trials were included. Health coaching had a small, statistically significant effect on physical activity (27 studies; SMD = 0.27; 95% CI 0.18 to 0.37; p<0.001). There was no evidence of an effect of health coaching on mobility (eight studies; SMD = 0.10; 95% CI −0.03 to 0.23; p=0.13), quality of life (eight studies; SMD = 0.07; 95% CI −0.06 to 0.20; p<0.05) or mood (five studies; SMD = 0.02; 95% CI −0.12 to 0.16; p=0.83).

Conclusions

Health coaching significantly increased physical activity in people aged 60+. There was no evidence of an effect of health coaching on quality of life, mobility and mood, so different approaches may be required to impact on these outcomes.

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