Feasibility of a Habit Formation Intervention to Delay Frailty Progression among Older African Americans: A Pilot Study

Heather Fritz*, Yi Ling Hu, Wassim Tarraf, Pragnesh Patel, Suzanne Meeks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: Older African Americans are at high risk for becoming frail in later life. Interventions can reverse or delay frailty, yet African Americans have largely been excluded from such research. Many interventions are also time- A nd resource-intensive, and thus inaccessible to socially disadvantaged older African Americans. We evaluated the feasibility of a low-dose frailty prevention intervention integrated with primary care among 60 community-dwelling, prefrail older African Americans aged 55+ recruited from a primary care clinic. Research Design and Methods: We conducted a 2-arm randomized control trial. Participants were assigned to a 4-session intervention (1 session per month), delivered by an occupational therapist, or enhanced usual care. Feasibility criteria were set a priori at 75% for participant retention (including attrition due to death/hospitalization), 80% for session engagement, 2 participants/week for mean participant accrual, and 90% for program satisfaction. Results: Participants were 65% female with an average age of 76.6 years, 51.7% lived alone and 39.1% reported <10,000 in yearly income. Feasibility metrics were met. The study recruited, a mean of, 2.5 participants per week and retained 75% of participants who attended 95% of scheduled sessions. The mean satisfaction score was 29.75 (range = 0-32; SD. 25). Changes in physical activity and dietary habit formation as well as changes in secondary outcomes were largely in the expected direction. Discussion and Implications: The intervention was feasible to deliver. Qualitative findings from exit interviews suggested changes to the program dose, structure, and content that could improve it for future use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1353-1363
Number of pages11
Issue number7
StatePublished - 01 10 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved.


  • Physical phenotype
  • Prefrailty
  • Prevention


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