The School of Rural Public Health at the Texas A&M Health Science Center                                                        Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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Active for Life - Increasing Physical Activity Levels in Adults Age 50 and Older!
About the Program

Grandmother and grandaughterAARP Social Marketing Project

One element of the Active for Life® program was a community demonstration site program conducted by AARP in 2003.

The objectives of the program, which was conducted in Madison, WI and Richmond, VA, were:

  • To increase physical activity among adults 50+ in Richmond and Madison,
  • To identify methods and messages that support this behavior change and
  • To develop a model that can be adapted for replication and sustained over time.

The initial program used a social marketing approach to address individual behavior and the environment that supports that behavior. The intervention included the following strategies:

  • A paid advertising campaign to draw attention to the benefits of and opportunities for physical activity.
  • Media relations effort reinforced the advertising by featuring personal success stories and physical activity events.
  • Direct mail to AARP members encouraged participation in Active for Life activities.

All strategies provided a call to action in which the respondent could receive a personal handbook that would help them to create a self-directed 12-week physical activity program tailored to the individual's stage of readiness as well as instructions about where to get a step counter and how to use it.

The program also used an environmental change approach in which volunteers were trained to assess their neighborhoods and communities to determine to what extent they were activity-friendly, and then to advocate for necessary changes.

Additionally, AARP Active for Life held information briefings and Active Living “tours” for city planners and engineers, transportation officials, elected officials and other policy makers, and has participated in pedestrian safety projects.

There was also collaboration with partnering organizations such as public health, recreation and parks departments, health organizations, environmental groups, faith-based organizations, neighborhood associations, fitness facilities, walking clubs, running clubs, biking clubs and major employers.

For more information, contact Brigid Sanner at

Meet Our PartnersNPO Contact Info

SRPH Building
1266 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843

Phone: 979-458-4202
Fax: 979-458-4264

Active for Life National Program Office | SRPH Building | 1266 TAMU | College Station, TX 77843-1266
Phone: 979-458-4202 | Fax: 979-458-4264 | Email: