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Reaching older people with PA delivered in football clubs: the reach, adoption and implementation characteristics of the Extra Time Programme

Parnell, D and Pringle, A and McKenna, J and Zwolinsky, S and Rutherford, Z and Hargreaves, J and Trotter, L and Rigby, M and Richardson, D (2015) Reaching older people with PA delivered in football clubs: the reach, adoption and implementation characteristics of the Extra Time Programme. BMC Public Health, 15. ISSN 1471-2458

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Abstract

Background: Older adults (OA) represent a core priority group for physical activity and Public Health policy. As a result, significant interest is placed on how to optimise adherence to interventions promoting these approaches. Extra Time (ET) is an example of a national programme of physical activity interventions delivered in professional football clubs for OA aged 55+ years. This paper aims to examine the outcomes from ET, and unpick the processes by which these outcomes were achieved. Methods: This paper represents a secondary analysis of data collected during the evaluation of ET. From the 985 OA reached by ET, n=486 adopted the programme and completed post-intervention surveys (typically 12 weeks). We also draw on interview data with 18 ET participants, and 7 staff who delivered the programme. Data were subject to thematic analysis to generate overarching and sub themes. Results: Of the 486 participants, the majority 95%, (n= 462) were White British and 59.7% (n=290) were female. Most adopters (65.4%/n=318) had not participated in previous interventions in the host clubs. Social interaction was the most frequently reported benefit of participation (77.2%, n=375). While the reach of the club badge was important in letting people know about the programme, further work enhanced adoption and satisfaction. These factors included (i) listening to participants, (ii) delivering a flexible age-appropriate programme of diverse physical and social activities, (iii) offering activities which satisfy energy drives and needs for learning and (iv) extensive opportunities for social engagement. Conclusions: Findings emerging from this study indicate that physical activity and health interventions delivered through professional football clubs can be effective for engaging OA.

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