Long-term impact of fit and strong! On older adults with osteoarthritis

Susan L. Hughes*, Rachel B. Seymour, Richard T. Campbell, Gail Huber, Naomi Pollak, Leena Sharma, Pankaja Desai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

121 Scopus citations


Purpose: We present final outcomes from the multiple-component Fit and Strong! intervention for older adults with lower extremity osteoarthritis. Design and Methods: A randomized controlled trial compared the effects of this exercise and behavior-change program followed by home-based reinforcement (n = 115) with a wait list control (n = 100) at 2, 6, and 12 months. Fit and Strong! combined flexibility, aerobic walking, and resistance training with education and group problem solving to enhance self-efficacy for exercise and maintenance of physical activity. All participants developed individualized plans for long-term maintenance. Results: Relative to controls, treatment participants experienced statistically significant improvements in self-efficacy for exercise (p = .001), minutes of exercise per week (p = .000), and lower extremity stiffness (p = .018) at 2 months. These benefits were maintained at 6 months and were accompanied by increased self-efficacy for adherence to exercise over time (p = .001), reduced pain (p = .040), and a marginally significant increase in self-efficacy for arthritis pain management (p = .052). Despite a substantially smaller sample size at 12 months, significant treatment-group effects were maintained on self-efficacy for exercise (p = .006) and minutes of exercise per week (p = .001), accompanied by marginally significant reductions in lower extremity stiffness (p = .056) and pain (p = .066). No adverse health effects were seen. Effect sizes for self-efficacy for exercise and for maintenance of physical activity were 0.798 and 0.713, and 0.905 and 0.669, respectively, in the treatment group at 6 and 12 months. Implications: This consistent pattern of benefits indicates that this low-cost intervention is efficacious for older adults with lower extremity osteoarthritis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-814
Number of pages14
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Arthritis
  • Exercise
  • Outcomes
  • Physical activity
  • Self-efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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    Hughes, S. L., Seymour, R. B., Campbell, R. T., Huber, G., Pollak, N., Sharma, L., & Desai, P. (2006). Long-term impact of fit and strong! On older adults with osteoarthritis. Gerontologist, 46(6), 801-814. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/46.6.801