Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Community-based intervention to improve dietary habits and promote physical activity among older adults: a cluster randomized trial

Mika Kimura1*, Ai Moriyasu1, Shu Kumagai2, Taketo Furuna3, Shigeko Akita1, Shuichi Kimura1 and Takao Suzuki4

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Health Promotion, International Life Sciences Institute Japan, Nishikawa Bldg., 3-5-19 Kojimachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 102-0083, Japan

2 Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Human Arts and Sciences, 1288 Magome, Iwatsuki-ku, Saitama City, Saitama, 339-8539, Japan

3 Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health Sciences, Sapporo Medical University, S1 W17, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, 060-8556, Japan

4 National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, 35 Gango, Morioka-machi, Obu City, Aichi, 474-8511, Japan

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BMC Geriatrics 2013, 13:8  doi:10.1186/1471-2318-13-8

Published: 23 January 2013



The fastest growing age group globally is older adults, and preventing the need for long-term nursing care in this group is important for social and financial reasons. A population approach to diet and physical activity through the use of social services can play an important role in prevention. This study examined the effectiveness of a social health program for community-dwelling older adults aimed at introducing and promoting physical activity in the home at each individual’s pace, helping participants maintain good dietary habits by keeping self-check sheets, and determining whether long-standing unhealthy or less-than-ideal physical and dietary habits can be changed.


This cluster randomized trial conducted at 6 community centers in an urban community involved 92 community-dwelling older adults aged 65–90 years. The intervention group (3 community centers; n = 57) participated in the social health program “Sumida TAKE10!” which is an educational program incorporating the “TAKE10!® for Older Adults” program, once every 2 weeks for 3 months. The control group (3 community centers; n=35) was subsequently provided with the same program as a crossover intervention group. The main outcome measures were changes in food intake frequency, food frequency score (FFS), dietary variety score (DVS), and frequency of walking and exercise. The secondary outcome measures were changes in self-rated health, appetite, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology (TMIG) Index of Competence score.


Compared to baseline, post-intervention food intake frequency for 6 of 10 food groups (meat, fish/shellfish, eggs, potatoes, fruits, and seaweed), FFS, and DVS were significantly increased in the intervention group, and interaction effects of FFS and DVS were seen between the two groups. No significant differences were observed between baseline and post-intervention in the control group. Frequency of walking and exercise remained unchanged in both groups, and no significant difference in improvement rate was seen between the groups. Self-rated health was significantly increased in the intervention group. Appetite and TMIG Index of Competence score were unchanged in both groups.


The social health program resulted in improved dietary habits, as measured by food intake frequency, FFS, and DVS, and may improve self-rated health among community-dwelling older adults.

Trial registration number


Social health program; Community-dwelling older adults; Dietary variety; Physical activity; Self-rated health