Applying the Health Belief Model to Physical Activity Engagement Among Older Adults

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Jennifer Gristwood


We are currently undergoing one of the largest population swings in history, as over 79 million people will turn 65 years by 2012. This steadily growing population will soon be the largest demographic in North America and also one of the most inactive. Currently, over two-thirds are not meeting the recommended daily levels of physical activity and consequently developing chronic illnesses brought on by a sedentary lifestyle. As health and exercise practitioners, it is easy to rely on traditional methods of intervention; however, it is imperative that we consider the role that individual values and beliefs play on engagement and adherence, far before the “first step” is even taken. By applying the Health Belief Model to current research around older adults and physical activity engagement, we can better understand and identify health behaviours associated with the older adult population and develop strong intervention strategies for the future.


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