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Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors (CHAMPS)

Program Synopsis

Designed to increase physical activity among older sedentary individuals, this intervention encourages the creation of a physical activity regimen and includes support such as an informational meeting, individual planning session, telephone calls from a counselor, monthly group workshops, and newsletters. The study showed an increase in physical activity.

Program Highlights

Purpose: Designed to increase physical activity among sedentary individuals (2001).
Age: 65+ Years (Older Adults)
Sex: Female, Male
Race/Ethnicity: White (not of Hispanic or Latino Origin)
Program Focus: Awareness Building and Behavior Modification
Population Focus: Sedentary People
Program Area: Physical Activity
Delivery Location: Other Settings
Community Type: This information has not been reported.
Program Materials

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Program Scores

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RE-AIM Scores

Regular physical activity contributes substantially to the health, functioning, and quality of life of older adults. Many chronic conditions and illnesses can be prevented and managed through regular physical activity. Regular exercise to improve strength and endurance among older adults can also lower health care and nursing home utilization. Unfortunately, many older adults are not achieving the national guidelines for regular physical activity; only about 25% of men and 20% of women older than 65 years meet these guidelines. Older Americans can still benefit from regular physical activity, even if they have led a sedentary life.

This individually tailored, choice-based physical activity program promotes increased long-term physical activity levels in older adults. The Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors (CHAMPS II) encourages participants to create a physical activity regimen based on their preferences, health, ability, and resources (such as availability of community classes and financial status). Based on social-cognitive theory, the program includes principles of self-efficacy enhancement and readiness to change as well as motivational techniques. Participants receive information on ways to exercise safely, motivate themselves, and overcome barriers. Information and support resources include an informational meeting, one individual planning session, regular staff initiated telephone calls from a counselor, monthly group workshops, physical activity diaries, monthly newsletters, and functional fitness assessments.

This program uses intervention approaches recommended by the Community Preventive Services Task Force: community-wide campaigns (Physical Activity) and individually-adapted health behavior change programs (Physical Activity).

The initial informational meeting and the individual planning session require approximately 50 minutes each. Each of the 10 recommended monthly group workshops requires 60 to 90 minutes. Telephone calls (approximately 16 over the 1-year period) average 15 minutes depending on the needs and interests of the participant.

Participants were sedentary adults, 65 years or older in two Medicare health maintenance organizations (HMOs) through a large multispecialty medical group in California. The average age of participants was 74.4 years; 66% were female; and 9% were ethnic-racial minority group members in which 1.2% were Black; 4.3% were Asian or Pacific Islander; 2.4% were Hispanic; and 1% were classified as "Other".

This intervention is suitable for community-based settings.

The program's material includes the Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors II (CHAMPS II) Program Manual.

After medical screenings and personal enrollment meetings, 173 eligible adults from two participating HMOs were randomly assigned to the 1-year CHAMPS II intervention or to a wait-list control group. CHAMPS participants were encouraged to gradually develop a program for themselves that would include strength training, endurance, flexibility, balance and coordination. Participants in the CHAMPS II group met individually with trained program staff to discuss readiness to increase physical activity, safety, precautions, and motivation to develop a practical and realistic physical activity regimen. In general, the long-term goal was for participants to achieve at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most days of the week; additional recommendations were provided related to the different types of exercise. Participants then had the opportunity to attend any or all of 10 group workshops that included both lectures and practical movement instruction over the one-year intervention period; attendance at the initial exercise safety workshops was strongly encouraged. Participants received monthly telephone calls from program staff who provided encouragement and support, information on relapse prevention, and goal setting; staff also inquired about changes in participant's health and pain associated with exercise. Participants completed several functional fitness tests. They received monthly newsletters. Finally, participants were asked to complete a physical activity diary for two weeks out of each month.

Physical activity was measured by self-report at baseline and 1 year.

Results indicated:

  • Participants in the intervention group increased their estimated caloric expenditure (+487 calories) in moderate-intensity (or greater) activities compared to participants in the control group (+5 calories).
  • Participants in the intervention group also increased their estimated caloric expenditure (+687) in physical activity at any intensity compared to participants in the control group, whose caloric expenditure did not change.
  • Participants in the intervention group lost an average of 3 pounds over the one-year intervention, based on a reduction of their body mass index (BMI), compared to control group participants who had no change in BMI.

Graph of study results


Gillis DE, Grossman MD, McLellan BY, King AC, Stewart AL. (2002). Participants' Evaluations of Components of a Physical-Activity-Promotion Program for Seniors (CHAMPS II). Journal of aging and physical activity, 10, 336-353.

Mills KM, Stewart AL, McLellan BY, Verboncoeur CJ, King AC, Brown BW. (2001). Evaluation of Enrollment Bias in a Physical-Activity-Promotion Program for Seniors. Journal of aging and physical activity, 9, 398-413.

Harada ND, Chiu V, King AC, Stewart AL. (2001). An Evaluation of Three Self-Report Physical Activity Instruments for Older Adults. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 33(6), 962-970.

Damush TM, Stewart AL, Mills KM, King AC, Ritter PL. (1999). Prevalence and Correlates of Physician Recommendations to Exercise among Older Adults. Journal of Gerontology, 54A(8), M423-M427.

Stewart AL, Mills KM, King AC, Haskell WL, Gillis D, Ritter PL. (2001). CHAMPS Physical Activity Questionnaire for Older Adults: Outcomes for Interventions. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 33(7), 1126-1141.

Mills KM, Stewart AL, King AC, Roitz K, Sepsis PG, Ritter PL, Bortz WM. (1996). Factors Associated with Enrollment of Older Adults into a Physical Activity Promotion Program (CHAMPS I). Journal of Aging and Health, 8(1), 96-113.

Verboncoeur CJ, Stewart AL, King AC, Rush S, McLellan BY, Mills KM. (2000). The Use of Refusal Postcards in Recruiting Older Adults. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 22(4), 330-333.

Stewart AL. (2001). Community-Based Physical Activity Programs for Adults Age 50 and Older. Journal of aging and physical activity, 9, S71-S91.

Mills KM, Stewart AL, Sepsis PG, King AC. (1997). Consideration of Older Adults' Preferences for Format of Physical Activity. Journal of aging and physical activity, 5, 50-58.

Sepsis PG, Stewart AL, McLellan B, Mills K, Roitz K, Shoumaker W, King AC. (1995). Seniors' Ratings of the Helpfulness of Various Program Support Mechanisms Utilized in a Physical Activity Promotion Program. Journal of aging and physical activity, 3, 193-207.

Stewart AL, Mills KM, Sepsis PG, King AC, McLellan BY, Roitz K, Ritter PL. (1997). Evaluation of CHAMPS, A Physical Activity Promotion Program for Older Adults. Annals Behavioral Medicine, 19(4), 353-361.

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Updated: 06/08/2020