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Protocol for the residents in action pilot cluster randomised controlled trial (RiAT): evaluating a behaviour change intervention to promote walking, reduce sitting and improve mental health in physically inactive older adults in retirement villages
  1. Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani1,
  2. Ashlene Wright1,
  3. Eleanor Quested1,
  4. Elissa Burton2,
  5. Keith D Hill2,
  6. Ester Cerin3,4,
  7. Stuart J H Biddle5,6,
  8. Nikos Ntoumanis1
  1. 1 Health Psychology & Behavioural Medicine Research Group, School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  2. 2 School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  3. 3 Institute for Health and Ageing, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  4. 4 School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
  5. 5 Institute of Sport, Exercise & Active Living, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  6. 6 Institute for Resilient Regions, University of Southern Queensland, Springfield, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani; c.thogersen{at}


Introduction Ageing is accompanied by increased risks of chronic disease, declined functioning and increased dependency. Physical activity is critical to retaining health and independence, but the majority of older people are insufficiently physically active to achieve these benefits and have high levels of sedentary (sitting) time. Activity programmes are often offered in retirement villages; however, their uptake is limited. Furthermore, although the physical environment in and around these villages can play an important role in decisions to be physically active, its role is often overlooked by research in these settings. We aim to develop, implement and evaluate a proof-of-concept motivationally embellished intervention designed to increase walking, reduce sitting and improve mental health in residents in retirement villages.

Methods and analysis This will be a 16-week pilot intervention using a cluster randomised design with retirement villages as the unit of randomisation and residents as the unit of assessment. Fourteen retirement villages around Perth, Western Australia, will be recruited for the intervention. Objective audits of neighbourhood environments around each village will be completed using the Pathway Environmental Audit Tool. Seven villages will be randomised to the experimental arm and seven to the control arm. Only participants in the experimental arm will receive motivational training. All outcomes will be assessed at baseline, end of intervention and 6-month follow-up. Changes in physical activity levels, sitting time and mental health will be examined. Multilevel modelling will be used to analyse the data. A mixed methods process evaluation will also be conducted.

Ethics and dissemination Ethics approval was granted by Curtin University’s Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC2016-0187). The results of the study will be disseminated via peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations and reports to, and seminars with, stakeholders.

Trial registration The trial is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12616001177448.

  • walking
  • wellbeing
  • intervention
  • ageing

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  • Contributors CT-N, EB, KDH, EC, SJHB and NN conceived the project and obtained the project funding. EQ and NN assisted in the development of the intervention materials. CT-N is coordinating the project. AW is managing the project on a day-to-day basis and is leading the data collection and will supervise causal research assistants. CT-N and AW drafted the manuscript, and all authors read, edited and approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding This work is supported by the Western Australian Health Promotion Foundation (Healthway), grant number: 24258. EC is supported by an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (FT3 #140100085).

  • Competing interests SJHB: funding has been received since 2013 for consultancy work from Fitness First, Nuffield Health and Unilever. None of these are currently active. Funding was received in 2016 for consultancy work for Halpern PR Limited. In-kind support through the provision of a sit-to-stand desk was provided by Ergotron from 2012 to 2014. Advice has been requested by and offered to Active Working, Get Britain Standing and Bluearth, none with funding.

  • Ethics approval Curtin University’s Human Research Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Correction notice This paper has been amended since it was published Online First. Owing to a scripting error, some of the publisher names in the references were replaced with 'BMJ Publishing Group'. This only affected the full text version, not the PDF. We have since corrected these errors and the correct publishers have been inserted into the references.

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