A stepped down physical activity support program for military service veterans: The Active Choices pilot study

Nicholas D. Gilson*, Zoe E. Papinczak, Catherine Haslam, Gregore I. Mielke, Jonas Fooken, Wendy J. Brown

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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Issue Addressed: Referral to supervised physical activity (PA) programs is an effective treatment for military service veterans (MSVs) suffering from a range of chronic diseases. However, many MSVs fail to maintain PA regimes once discharged from supervision. This pilot study assessed Active Choices, a stepped-down program to support MSVs in the transition from allied health treatment to self-managed PA. Methods: Participants were 34 Australian MSVs (mean [SD] age = 61 [15.8] years) who were completing supervised referral to an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist. MSVs stepped-down to Active Choices and received a 12-week, evidence-based PA support program (2020–2021). Analyses compared within-group changes in accelerometer-assessed PA at three time points (Weeks 0, 12, and 24; linear mixed model). Program retention, PA choices, and allied healthcare service costs were also evaluated. Results: Relative to baseline (64 [26] min/day), mean (SD) moderate-to-vigorous PA increased (74 [28] min/day; p <.05) and was maintained (62 [28] min/day) at weeks 12 and 24, respectively. Retention in the program was high (86% [29/34 participants] completion rate at 12 weeks), with water-based group activities the most popular PAs of choice (14/24 activities). Average allied healthcare service costs during the study were lower than typical costs for MSVs (60.51 vs. 97.06 AUD/week). Conclusion: The findings highlight the potential of Active Choices to support MSVs in the transition from supervised to self-managed MVPA. So What?: The program could promote the health of veterans and reduce costs for ongoing referral if impact is replicated at scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 31 Aug 2023


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