Published online by Cambridge University Press: 03 November 2008
This paper reports the evaluation of the effectiveness of incentives (viz. points and prizes) and of peer-group organisers (‘older people's champions') in the outcomes of a health-improvement programme for people aged 50+ years in a multi-ethnic district of the West Midlands, England. Health promotion activities were provided, and adherence, outcome variables and barriers to adherence were assessed over six months, using a ‘passport’ format. Those aged in the fifties and of Asian origin were under represented, but people of Afro-Caribbean origin were well represented and proportionately most likely to stay in the project. Those of greater age and with more illness were most likely to drop out. There were significant improvements in exercise, diet and the uptake of influenza vaccines and eyesight tests, but slighter improvements in wellbeing. Positive outcomes related to the incentives and to liking the format. The number of reported barriers was associated with lower involvement and lack of change, as was finding activities too difficult, the level of understanding, and transport and mobility problems, but when these were controlled, age did not predict involvement. Enjoying the scheme was related to positive changes, and this was associated with support from the older people's champions.