Intervention in Older Urban-Dwelling Veterans With Dysmobility: Protocol for a Pilot Feasibility Clinical Trial

Ronna N. Robbins, Monica C. Serra, Lisa S. Kilpela, Elizabeth A. Parker, Rozmin Jiwani, Odessa Addison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The majority of older veterans do not meet the minimum healthy diet or physical activity recommendations despite known benefits. Identifying ways to increase adherence to programs that improve dietary quality and physical activity may reduce the risk of disability in older veterans. Peer-based interventions may be one method for facilitating lasting behavior change because peers often share a common culture and knowledge regarding problems their community experiences. Objective: This study aims to develop, pilot, and evaluate a theory-driven, 12-week, peer-led nutrition and exercise intervention that targets older veterans with dysmobility and assess its feasibility in 2 diverse urban areas with underrepresented populations. Methods: Community-dwelling veterans aged >65 years with self-reported dysmobility (defined as difficulty in at least 1 of the following: walking quickly across a street, walking a mile, ascending a flight of stairs, rising from a chair without the use of arms, or a fear of falling) from 2 Department of Veterans Affairs Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinic Centers (Baltimore, Maryland, and San Antonio, Texas) will be eligible to participate. First, this study will use validated mixed methods via web-based surveys (n=50 per site) to assess potential physical, social or environmental, and behavioral or lifestyle barriers that affect physical activity and dietary quality (phase 1). Next, we will use knowledge gained from these assessments and feedback from a focus group (n=10 per site) to adapt established Department of Veterans Affairs diet and exercise program materials to develop peer-led intervention materials and train peer leaders (n=3 per site). Finally, we will determine the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention to assess reach (recruitment and retention), adoption (satisfaction, perceived utility, attendance, and engagement), and implementation (fidelity of intervention), as well as the estimated magnitude and potential impact on selected outcomes (ie, diet quality and mobility) in 20 older veterans with dysmobility (n=10 per site). Results: The study was funded on January 1, 2022, with a projected data collection period of June 1, 2022, to December 31, 2023. Conclusions: This study offers an innovative approach to identifying strategies that increase long-term adherence to lifestyle modification programs that improve dietary quality and physical activity in older veterans with dysmobility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere39192
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022


  • dysmobility
  • lifestyle modification programs
  • peer-led
  • veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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