Communicating with older people about physical activity

Simone Pettigrew, Michelle I. Jongenelis, Rajni Rai, Ben Jackson, Robert U. Newton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Little is known about how to effectively encourage higher levels of activity among older people. This study tested the effectiveness of a public service advertisement designed according to recommendations for communicating with older audiences and featuring five types of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity: tennis, line dancing, cycling, swimming and jogging. Methods: A survey administered to 1,200 Australians aged 50+ years assessed effects of the public service advertisement on: motivation (intrinsic and extrinsic); perceived believability, relevance, and effectiveness; and feelings elicited (e.g. interest, hope, guilt). Open-ended questions enabled respondents to describe aspects of the ad they considered to be most and least effective. Results: Moderate to high scores were obtained on the motivation measures and the ad evaluation criteria of perceived effectiveness, likeability, believability and personal relevance. Mean scores for the feelings measures were generally low, with the exception of the positive feelings of being interested, inspired, hopeful and determined. Conclusions: The results suggest physical activity promotion ads can be motivating across age and socioeconomic subgroups of older people. Implications for public health: Ads aiming to encourage older people to be more physically active may be accepted and effective if they depict everyday older people enjoying a range of relevant activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-591
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number6
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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