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      Recruitment of older adults into randomized controlled trials: Issues and lessons learned from two community-based exercise interventions in Shanghai

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          With the increasing need for high-quality exercise interventions in China, relatively little is known about issues and challenges related to recruitment of older Chinese adults into exercise-based disease prevention interventions. This study aims to describe the recruitment process and outcomes of 2 exercise interventions conducted in Shanghai, China.


          Recruitment information was ascertained from 2 community-based randomized controlled trials for 2 exercise interventions, the first designed to improve health outcomes for older women with knee osteoarthritis and the second to study changes in cognitive function in adults with mild cognitive impairment. Results were summarized in terms of recruitment sources, number screened, screening-to-enrollment ratios, and costs.


          Recruitment was primarily achieved through working with local residential divisions (i.e., neighborhood associations and residential committees). Both studies achieved their planned target number of older adults (45 and 46, respectively) within a 1-year time frame, with a screening-to-randomized ratio of 5:1 and demonstrated excellent retention rates (range 87%–93%) at 6 months. The recruitment cost for the 2 studies averaged RMB 189 (about USD 30) per initial recruit and RMB 738 (about USD 119) per participant randomized. Some major issues encountered during the recruitment process included (1) the use of community neighborhoods to support the conduct of the projects, (2) access to participants, and (3) feasibility.


          Analysis of the 2 randomized controlled trials has provided valuable insights into the recruitment process and identified resources that can help better planning and recruitment for future interventions. Recommendations aimed at increasing the success of future recruitment efforts are provided.

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          Most cited references 18

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          American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise.

          The purpose of this Position Stand is to provide guidance to professionals who counsel and prescribe individualized exercise to apparently healthy adults of all ages. These recommendations also may apply to adults with certain chronic diseases or disabilities, when appropriately evaluated and advised by a health professional. This document supersedes the 1998 American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Position Stand, "The Recommended Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory and Muscular Fitness, and Flexibility in Healthy Adults." The scientific evidence demonstrating the beneficial effects of exercise is indisputable, and the benefits of exercise far outweigh the risks in most adults. A program of regular exercise that includes cardiorespiratory, resistance, flexibility, and neuromotor exercise training beyond activities of daily living to improve and maintain physical fitness and health is essential for most adults. The ACSM recommends that most adults engage in moderate-intensity cardiorespiratory exercise training for ≥30 min·d on ≥5 d·wk for a total of ≥150 min·wk, vigorous-intensity cardiorespiratory exercise training for ≥20 min·d on ≥3 d·wk (≥75 min·wk), or a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity exercise to achieve a total energy expenditure of ≥500-1000 MET·min·wk. On 2-3 d·wk, adults should also perform resistance exercises for each of the major muscle groups, and neuromotor exercise involving balance, agility, and coordination. Crucial to maintaining joint range of movement, completing a series of flexibility exercises for each the major muscle-tendon groups (a total of 60 s per exercise) on ≥2 d·wk is recommended. The exercise program should be modified according to an individual's habitual physical activity, physical function, health status, exercise responses, and stated goals. Adults who are unable or unwilling to meet the exercise targets outlined here still can benefit from engaging in amounts of exercise less than recommended. In addition to exercising regularly, there are health benefits in concurrently reducing total time engaged in sedentary pursuits and also by interspersing frequent, short bouts of standing and physical activity between periods of sedentary activity, even in physically active adults. Behaviorally based exercise interventions, the use of behavior change strategies, supervision by an experienced fitness instructor, and exercise that is pleasant and enjoyable can improve adoption and adherence to prescribed exercise programs. Educating adults about and screening for signs and symptoms of CHD and gradual progression of exercise intensity and volume may reduce the risks of exercise. Consultations with a medical professional and diagnostic exercise testing for CHD are useful when clinically indicated but are not recommended for universal screening to enhance the safety of exercise.
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            Interventions to improve recruitment and retention in clinical trials: a survey and workshop to assess current practice and future priorities

            Background Despite significant investment in infrastructure many trials continue to face challenges in recruitment and retention. We argue that insufficient focus has been placed on the development and testing of recruitment and retention interventions. Methods In this current paper, we summarize existing reviews about interventions to improve recruitment and retention. We report survey data from Clinical Trials Units in the United Kingdom to indicate the range of interventions used by these units to encourage recruitment and retention. We present the views of participants in a recent workshop and a priority list of recruitment interventions for evaluation (determined by voting among workshop participants). We also discuss wider issues concerning the testing of recruitment interventions. Results Methods used to encourage recruitment and retention were categorized as: patient contact, patient convenience, support for recruiters, monitoring and systems, incentives, design, resources, and human factors. Interventions felt to merit investigation by respondents fell into three categories: training site staff, communication with patients, and incentives. Conclusions Significant resources continue to be invested into clinical trials and other high quality studies, but recruitment remains a significant challenge. Adoption of innovative methods to develop, test, and implement recruitment interventions are required. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-399) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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              Updating the Evidence for Physical Activity: Summative Reviews of the Epidemiological Evidence, Prevalence, and Interventions to Promote "Active Aging".

              There is a global imperative to increase awareness of the emerging evidence on physical activity (PA) among older adults. "Healthy aging" has traditionally focused on preventing chronic disease, but greater efforts are required to reduce frailty and dependency and to maintain independent physical and cognitive function and mental health and well-being.

                Author and article information

                J Sport Health Sci
                J Sport Health Sci
                Journal of Sport and Health Science
                Shanghai University of Sport
                16 July 2016
                September 2016
                16 July 2016
                : 5
                : 3
                : 308-314
                [a ]Key Laboratory of Exercise and Health Sciences of Ministry of Education, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai 200438, China
                [b ]Department of Rehabilitation, Xin Hua Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200092, China
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. yuliu@

                These two authors contributed equally to this work.

                © 2016 Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of Shanghai University of Sport.

                This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

                Special issue on Physical activity, aging, and health in China


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