Needs assessment in community-dwelling older adults toward digital interventions to promote physical activity: Cross-sectional survey study

Weber, Manuel; Schmitt, Kai-Uwe; Frei, Anja; Puhan, Milo A; Raab, Anja (2023). Needs assessment in community-dwelling older adults toward digital interventions to promote physical activity: Cross-sectional survey study DIGITAL HEALTH, 9 Sage 10.1177/20552076231203785

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Background Tackling physical inactivity represents a key global public health challenge. Strategies to increase physical activity (PA) are therefore warranted. Despite the rising availability of digital interventions (DIs), which offer tremendous potential for PA promotion, there has been inadequate attention to the special needs of older adults. Objective The aim was to investigate community-dwelling older adults’ needs, requirements, and preferences toward DIs to promote PA. Methods The target population of this cross-sectional study was community-dwelling older adults (≥60 years old) within German-speaking Switzerland. Potential respondents were informed about the study and sent a link to a self-developed and self-administered online survey by our cooperating institutions. Results Overall, 922 respondents who completed the online survey were included in the final analysis. The mean age of the sample was 72 years (SD 6.4, range 60–98). The preferred delivery mode of DIs to promote PA was a website (428/922, 46.4%) and 80.3% (740/922) preferred video-based structures. Most respondents expressed the need for personal access, personal goals, personal messages, and a personal contact in case of problems or questions (585/817, 71.6%; 546/811, 67.3%; 536/822, 65.2%; 536/822, 65.2%). Memory training, psychological wellbeing, and nutrition were mainly rated as relevant additional content of DIs to promote PA (690/849, 81.2%; 661/845, 78.2%, 619/849, 72.9%). Conclusion Community-dwelling older adults may be willing to use DIs to promote PA in the long term, but this study identified particular needs and requirements in terms of design, technological realization, delivery mode, support, and individualization/personalization among the sample. Our results can inform future developments of DIs to promote PA specifically tailored to older adults. However, caution is warranted in interpreting the findings due to the sample's high PA and education levels.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


School of Health Professions
School of Health Professions > Academic-Practice-Partnership Insel Gruppe/BFH


Weber, Manuel0000-0002-5866-9618;
Schmitt, Kai-Uwe0000-0003-3439-9323;
Frei, Anja;
Puhan, Milo A and
Raab, Anja0000-0002-4139-2173








Kai-Uwe Schmitt

Date Deposited:

11 Oct 2023 16:06

Last Modified:

11 Oct 2023 16:06

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Health, lifestyle, exercise, behavior change, technology, digitalization, aging




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