One of the most important causes of chronic diseases in elderly people is lack of physical activity. Studies have shown that lack of physical activity in the elderly causes osteoporosis, obesity, depression and sudden death from cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and colon cancer. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of an educational intervention on knowledge and practice of physical activity among the rural elderly in Zabol city.
In this semi-experimental study, 200 elderly people over 60 years of age living in rural areas of Zabol city who were selected by multi-stage random sampling were divided into two groups: intervention and control. The data collection instrument was a researcher-made questionnaire that comprised 3 parts: demographic and background variables, knowledge and practice. Before the intervention, the questionnaires were completed by intervention and control group. The educational content for the intervention group was the Healthy Lifestyle Handbook and face-to-face training which included a practical representation of six smooth movements. However, no intervention was performed in the control group. After 2 months, the same questionnaire was completed again and the data were analyzed using SPSS software.
Before the intervention, there was no difference in the mean score of knowledge and practice of the participants, but these differences were significant in the post intervention (p < 0.001). The mean of knowledge and practice scores in the control group in pre-intervention stage was 35.17 ± 2.05 and 6.24 ± 2.82, respectively, Which was 35.59 ± 1.82 and 5.91 ± 2.64 in the post-intervention phase, respectively, But the mean score of knowledge and practice in the intervention group in pre intervention stage increased from 35.6 ± 2.47 and 6.73 ± 3.43 to 37.85 ± 1.38, and 12.83 ± 9.09 in the post-intervention phase, respectively.
Educational intervention is effective in increasing awareness and overall level of physical activity among the elderly.