Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Health

First Advisor's Name

Richard C. Palmer

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Elena Bastida

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

H. Virginia McCoy

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Hafiz Khan

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Older Adult, Physical Activity, Aging

Date of Defense



Despite the well-known benefits of physical activity, in 2012, only 37.5% of older adults aged 60 years or older met recommended aerobic physical activity levels and 16.1% met muscle-strengthening guidelines. Effective exercise programs can help combat the problem of inactivity but 50% of those who start participating in an exercise program drop out within first few weeks, preventing them from gaining any health benefits.

Since fall 2008, the Healthy Aging Regional Collaborative of South Florida has offered EnhanceFitness (EF), an evidence-based physical activity program to older adults. This dissertation compared EF effectiveness at 4-, 8-, and 12-months and examined the factors that were associated with program completion. A paired sample t-test identified changes at 4-months and repeated measures design was used to identify changes from baseline to 4-, 8-, and 12- months. Logistic regression was used to identify correlates associated with completion.

Between October 1, 2008 and December 31, 2012, 4,531 older adults (>=60 years) attended one or more EF sessions. Participants showed significant improvement in the number of chair stands performed in 30-seconds with mean change of 1.7, 1.6, and 2.0 respectively at 4-,8-,and 12- months (pp<0.001).

Results suggest Black, non-Haitian men were less likely to complete the program when compared to white, non-Hispanic men (OR=0.41, p=0.02). Men who self-reported having at least one risk factor were more likely to complete the program (OR=1.81, p= 0.03). In addition, women who lived in Miami-Dade County (OR=2.13, ppppp<0.01).

Effectiveness results revealed that all participants improved on outcome measures. However, improvement is more than double for those who completed recommended sessions (p





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