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2018 Conference Presentation

Digitalization and technology Austria

11 September 2018

Effects of an ICT based fitness program on physical fitness of home care recipients.

Sonja Jungreitmayr, University of Salzburg, Austria

Susanne Ring-Dimitriou, University of Salzburg, Austria


Objectives: Austria´s population forecast predicts that in 2023 20% of the population will be 65 years and older, which will be an increase of 1.5% since 2016. However at the moment it is not clear, if the life years in health will become stabilized or not in our aging society. Accordingly, actual health statistic data indicate the need for formal care and a rise of costs in mobile care. Numbers are expected to increase from 356.65 million in 2010 to a total of 654.3 million Euros in 2025 in Austria. To overcome the projected economic burden non-supervised care strategies, like information-communication-technology (ICT) based health programs, are under investigation. Although it has been shown that regular exercise as resistance and endurance training slow down the degradation of bodily functions, the effectiveness of ICT-guided exercise programs in home care recipients is not clear. Therefore we investigated a low-threshold ICT-based fitness program consisting of frequent, short lasting and very low intensive exercise bouts on physical fitness by a control-group study design.

Methods: 123 participants allocated to a test-group (TG, n= 71) and a control-group (CG, n= 52) were tested for the effects of the ICT-program before (= t0), in between (= t1) and after the intervention of 8 months (= t2). Trained personnel measured body mass index in fasting condition and assessed physical fitness as grip strength via handgrip-dynamometry (grip), as balance via unipedal-stance test (UPS) and as leg strength via 30-second chair rise test (30CR). Statistical analyses are performed to determine differences between groups over time after testing for normality and by utilizing a P-value of < .05. Results and Conclusions: Overall at baseline (t0) no significant differences were found between TG and CG with a mean age of 74.5 ±7.5y (TG) vs. 76.2 ± 8.4y (CG). According to gender (females F/males M) TG consisted of 77.5% F / 22.5% M vs. 71.2% F / 28.3% M in the CG. BMI: 31.0 kg/m² ± 7.1 in TG vs 28.7 kg/m² ± 5.4 in CG; maximum grip: F 22.4 kg ± 7.4 / M 34.5 kg ± 7.2 in TG vs. F 21.6 kg ± 6.1 / M 29.4 kg ± 10.7 in CG; 30CR: F 8.0 cts ± 6.3 / M 11.8 cts ± 7.1 in TG vs. F 6.3 cts ± 6.1 / M 11.1 cts ± 7.5 in CG; and UPS: F 9.3 sec ± 14.5 / M 17.8 sec ± 19.9 in TG vs. F 8.3 sec ± 14.1 / M 15.8 sec ± 21.2 in CG. The descriptive data imply a highly aged and overweight population of home care recipients at baseline. The physical fitness level in balance, the chair rise test and in grip-strength are under the average compared to proposed cut-off values at t0. Because of that low performance level at baseline we expect that the TG utilizing the ICT-guided 10 minutes exercise program on a daily basis will enhance physical fitness. The results of the ongoing statistical analysis will be discussed in the symposium.

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