Examining the Delivery of a Tailored Chinese Mind-Body Exercise to Low-Income Community-Dwelling Older Latino Individuals for Healthy Aging: Feasibility and Acceptability Study

Yan Du, Neela Patel, Arthur Hernandez, Maria Zamudio-Samano, Shiyu Li, Tianou Zhang, Roman Fernandez, Byeong Yeob Choi, William M. Land, Sarah Ullevig, Vanessa Estrada Coats, Jessh Mondesir Mavoungou Moussavou, Deborah Parra-Medina, Zenong Yin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Older Latino individuals are disproportionally affected by various chronic conditions including impairments in physical and cognitive functions, which are essential for healthy aging and independent living. Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of FITxOlder, a 12-week mind-body exercise program, in community-dwelling low-income, predominantly older Latino individuals, and assess its preliminary effects on health parameters relevant to healthy aging and independent living. Methods: This 12-week, single-arm, stage 1B feasibility study had a pre- and poststudy design. A total of 13 older adults (mean age 76.4, SD 7.9 years; 11/13, 85% Latino) of a congregate meal program in a senior center were enrolled. FITxOlder was a tailored Chinese mind-body exercise program using Five Animal Frolics led by a bilingual community health worker (CHW) participating twice a week at the senior center and facilitated by mobile health technology for practice at home, with incrementally increasing goals moving from once a week to at least 3 times a week. The feasibility and acceptability of the study were examined using both quantitative and qualitative data. Healthy aging–related outcomes (eg, physical and cognitive function) were assessed using paired 2-tailed t tests. Qualitative interview data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: The attendance rate for the 24 exercise sessions was high (22.7/24, 95%), ranging from 93% (1.8/2) to 97% (1.9/2) over the 12 weeks. Participants were compliant with the incremental weekly exercise goals, with 69.2% (9/13) and 75.0% (9/12) meeting the home and program goals in the last 4 weeks, respectively. Approximately 83% (10/12) to 92% (11/12) of the participants provided favorable feedback on survey questions regarding the study and program implementation, such as program content and support, delivery by the CHW, enjoyment and appeal of the Five Animal Frolics, study burden and incentives, and safety concerns. The qualitative interview data revealed that FITxOlder was well accepted; participants reported enjoyment and health benefits and the desire to continue to practice and share it with others. The 5-time sit-to-stand test (mean change at posttest assessment=−1.62; P<.001; Cohen d=0.97) and 12-Item Short Form Health Survey physical component scores (mean change at post intervention=5.71; P=.01; Cohen d=0.88) exhibited changes with large effect sizes from baseline to 12 weeks; the other parameters showed small or medium effect sizes. Conclusions: The research findings indicated that the CHW-led and mobile health–facilitated Chinese qigong exercise program is feasible and acceptable among low-income Latino older adults. The trending health benefits of the 12-week FITxOlder program suggest it is promising to promote physical activity engagement in underserved older populations to improve health outcomes for healthy aging and independent living. Future research with larger samples and longer interventions is warranted to assess the health benefits and suitability of FITxOlder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere40046
JournalJMIR Formative Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022


  • Five Animal Frolics
  • Hispanics
  • Latinos
  • aging in place
  • health technology
  • healthy aging
  • independent living
  • low-income
  • mind-body exercise
  • older adults
  • qigong

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Informatics


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