Investigation of nutrition knowledge, muscle strength and physical activity participation in independently living older adults

Information Sheet - Nutrition and PA in older adults information study.pdf (314 KB)

Invitation to participate in research

We are inviting residents at Settlers Albany Lifestyle Village to take part in a study looking at nutrition knowledge and physical activity participation.

Researcher Introduction

Hello, I, Baron de Villiers, am currently studying towards a Master of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics at Massey University. I am undertaking this research under the supervision of Assoc. Prof Carol Wham and Assoc. Prof Ajmol Ali. Together, the supervisors have an extensive background of research in the fields of nutrition, sport and exercise science, physiology and public health.

Project Description

As people are living longer, this potentially increases the prevalence of health loss from chronic disease which may relate to a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet. This study aims to investigate nutrition knowledge, body composition and physical activity participation among older adults living independently at Settlers Albany Lifestyle Village.

Participant recruitment and involvement

We are looking for approximately 100 participants to take part in this study. Information about the study will be provided in the Settlers Village weekly newsletter and by personal letters to residents. We wish to invite residents who undertake exercise as well as those who do not exercise to take part.

Participants in this study must be:

  • A Settlers Albany Lifestyle Village resident
  • Competent in written and spoken English
  • Willing to perform physical function tests
  • Willing to complete a nutrition questionnaire.

A screening questionnaire will be used to see whether you meet the criteria to participate in the study. If you meet the criteria, you will be asked to complete a consent form before taking part.

At the completion of the study, you will receive a summary of the results. This will include the accelerometer 7-day step counts, Five Times Sit to Stand test times, gait speed test times and hand-grip dynamometer test results and an explanation of what the results mean.

Data collection

It should take approximately one hour to have physical measures (height using a portable stadiometer, weight and BMI using bio-electrical impedance), be fitted with an accelerometer, perform physical function tests and complete the questionnaire.

A small device used to examine physical activity (accelerometer) will be attached at the beginning of each data collection and you will be shown how the device works and how to remove it at night and reattach it in the morning.  Accelerometers can be attached to the hip and worn continuously during waking hours except for water-based activities (e.g. showering, swimming) for 7 days.

Physical function tests will include the use of a hand-grip dynamometer to measure forearm strength. You will be asked to grip the dynamometer, and squeeze firmly for 3 seconds and repeat this 3 times. For the gait speed test you will be instructed to walk 4-6 metres from a standstill position and this will be recorded on a stopwatch.

To perform the Five Times Sit to Stand test you will be asked to change from a sitting to a standing position on a chair unaided as quickly as possible five times.

You will be asked to complete a nutrition questionnaire consisting of 33 items that will take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.

Data Management

All data and materials will be solely used for this study. Only the researchers and supervisors will have access to the data and consent forms. Hard copies of data will be kept in a locked filing cabinet on campus at Massey University Albany. Soft copies will be stored on password-protected computers in password-protected files, where the password is only known to the research team.

Participant’s Rights

You are under no obligation to accept this invitation. Should you choose to participate, you have the right to:

  • decline to answer any question in the questionnaire;
  • withdraw from the study up until submission of the questionnaire;
  • ask any questions regarding the study at any time during participation;
  • provide information on the understanding that your name will not be used;
  • be given access to a summary of the study results when research has been concluded;

Project Contacts

If you have any questions regarding this project, please contact the student researcher and/or one of the supervisors.

Baron de Villiers (School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition)
Phone: +64 21 308080

Assoc. Prof Carol Wham (School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition)
Phone: +64 (09) 414 0800 ext. 43644

Assoc. Prof Ajmol Ali (School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition)
Phone: +64 (09) 213 6414

Committee Approval

This project has been reviewed and approved by the Massey University Human Ethics Committee: Southern A, Application 18/09.  If you have any concerns about the conduct of this research, please contact Dr Lesley Batten, Chair, Massey University Human Ethics Committee: Southern A, telephone 06 356 9099 x 85094, email 

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