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Physical activity and health promotion in midlife women

Mirzaiinajmabadi, Khadigeh (2005) Physical activity and health promotion in midlife women. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

Objectives: This study specifically focused on health promotion and physical activity in midlife women. Health promotion in midlife women was examined to determine if exercise could improve the menopausal symptoms and health status in midlife women and if a multi-modal intervention might improve the level of activity in midlife women. The objectives of the study included 1) To identify the relationship between physical activity, menopausal symptoms and health status in midlife women, and 2) To determine the effect of a multi-modal intervention on increasing levels of exercise in midlife women.

Methods: The study was conducted in two phases. The first phase included a secondary data analysis of 886 women who took part in the Queensland Midlife Women Health Survey (QMWHS) aged 45-60 years, who were randomly selected from South-East Queensland. In the second phase a randomised, controlled study was conducted on a subset of women who participated in the QMWHS. Women who were allocated to the intervention group (n=47) received an intervention, which combined a multi-modal program of physical activity with health education. Women in the control group continued their normal physical activities (n=66).

Results: Findings of this study indicated that increasing exercise was associated with lower psychological and somatic symptoms in midlife women. The study found that exercise was associated with decreasing menopausal symptoms. In the area of health status, significant differences were found between exercise and mental health, vitality, general health and physical function. This study revealed that a multi modal intervention could increase the level of activity in midlife women. There were significant differences in monthly exercise and vigorous activity between the intervention and control groups 3 months after the intervention. Women stated that they felt physical and mentally better and the program motivated them into being more active. They mentioned that the program was easy to understand and follow and the concept of the program was well organized and useful for them.

Conclusion: This study showed that exercise might provide a wider health effect on midlife women's health by decreasing menopausal symptoms and improving health status.

Exercise counselling is an essential component of healthcare, especially among middle-aged women who are experiencing physical, emotional, and social changes. Health professionals and nurses are in a good position to assist midlife women through providing information about the health effect of exercise. Physical activity should be encouraged for the prevention and reduction of risks for chronic disease and the improvement of health in midlife women.

The multi-modal program was effective in increasing levels of activity in midlife women. This is an important finding as exercise is difficult health behaviour to change. Study implications suggest that this type of intervention may provide an effective, clinically manageable therapy for women who choose a self-directed approach to increase their level of activity. This program may offer implications for designing and implementing exercise interventions in further studies.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 16067
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Anderson, Debra& Barnes, Margaret
Keywords: Physical Activity, Health Promotion, Women
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Department: Faculty of Health
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 13:55
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2011 05:42

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