Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Food Science and Human Nutrition

First Advisor

Sarah L. Francis


The Living (well through) Intergenerational Fitness and Exercise (LIFE) Program is a group-based exergaming program designed for community-delivery through Extension. Extension serves every Iowa county and has the potential to reach a larger population of older adults (OA). This study evaluated the LIFE Program's impact on OA physical activity (PA) and self-efficacy as well as to test the efficacy of it as an Extension-delivered program.

The LIFE Program was implemented in 31 rural Iowa counties with 265 OA. The LIFE Program includes an onsite program (8-weeks) and newsletter phase (16-weeks). Questionnaires were completed at weeks 1 (PRE, in person), 8 (POST, in person) and 25 (FOLLOW-UP, by mail). The questionnaires included general demographic information, self-reported health status, PA stages of change and self-efficacy measures. The LIFE Program delivery-efficacy through Extension was evaluated with a two-hour focus group (n= 5 managers) or an online questionnaire comprised of the focus group questions (n= 7 managers).

There was a significant increase in those who self-identified as "not-active" at PRE who moved to "active" at POST (p=.008). PRE PA level significantly influenced self-efficacy change from PRE to POST for 35-minutes (p=.011) and 40-minutes (p=.035) of continuous PA. PRE self-reported health status was also a significant influencer for 40-minutes (p=<.001) of continuous PA and self-efficacy for overcoming barriers change (p<.001) while the interaction between PRE self-reported health status and PRE PA level significantly influenced self-efficacy change for 35-minutes of continuous PA (p=.009).

Program managers reported offered the LIFE Program because it was a way to provide programming for rural-residing OA. The "best-liked" programming features included the ready-to-go curriculum, training workshops, monthly conference calls, and the intergenerational and rural focus. The LIFE Program implementation success was dependent on community support, including support from local Extension offices, high schools and the community. Implementation challenges included recruitment of trainers and OA, obtaining a host site location and questionnaires.

These data suggest that the LIFE Program leads to increased PA participation among those who were not active previously and improved PA self-efficacy among rural-residing OA. Additionally, the LIFE Program design is well-received and useful for Extension-delivery.


Copyright Owner

Ashleigh Jeanette Sowle



File Format


File Size

113 pages