East Providence-URI project seeks seniors interested
in making changes to become healthier
KINGSTON, R.I., -- May 11, 2000 -- East Providence residents 65 and older
who want to help themselves, their families and, in the long run, their
community, are being asked to become involved in the SENIOR Project, a collaboration
of the city of East Providence and the University of Rhode Island.
For the project to be successful, however, it needs 1,300 senior participants
interested in living healthier lives. The SENIOR (Study of Exercise
and Nutrition In Older Rhode Islanders) Project
is designed to encourage participants to eat more fruits and vegetables
and to exercise regularly. URI and East Providence officials held a news
conference today at the East Providence Senior Center to encourage participation
by the city's senior citizens.
It is being funded by a $2.8 million National Institute of Aging grant
awarded to the URI President's Health Promotion Partnership, which uses
innovative methods developed at URI to promote healthy behaviors among various
populations. The interventions reach participants at various stages of readiness
to change their behaviors.
The grant is the largest in the three-and-a-half-year history of the
"This grant gives us an unusual opportunity to bring to East Providence
the research of our faculty and students and the strategies developed to
help people live well in their senior years," said URI President Robert
L. Carothers. "This will be a partnership of the kind we envisioned
seven years ago when we developed a new paradigm for learning and serving."
"We want people to see this as a real opportunity, said URI Professor
of Gerontology Phillip G. Clark, who also heads the Rhode Island Geriatric
Education Center, which is based at URI. "This project is a chance
for individuals to learn about making healthy choices. We hope they see
participation as a way to give back to themselves, their children and grandchildren.
"We see the participants as heroes, people who want to act as role
models and whose efforts will help seniors across the country live healthier,
longer lives," Clark said.
In addition, full participation by East Providence residents will in
the long run help other seniors across the state and potentially across
the nation. When the project is completed, the results will be published
in national journals.
In the initial phase, teams from URI will fan out across the city to
meet with community and senior groups to provide information and a chance
for those interested to register. The SENIOR Project also encourages those
who want to participate to call the project number at 435-1910.
"We're looking forward to meeting with the residents of East Providence
to provide them with information about this important project," Clark
Participants will be assigned into four different groups, with each getting
a different intervention:
physical activity intervention
fruit and vegetable intervention
both physical activity and fruit and vegetable intervention
fall prevention intervention group (control group)
The actual interventions will last for one full year, and will consist
of: periodic interviews at the beginning of the project, and at 12 and 24
months; a health promotion manual, individual assessments and reports, monthly
newsletters and telephone follow-ups.
The intervention phase will begin in June, and recruitment of participants
will continue through the end of the year.
Clark emphasized that the project is not interested in limiting people's
diet in any way. "We just want to add fruits and vegetables and exercise,"
he said. "We're also not running exercise groups or holding meetings
with dieticians. Our program is only about education and follow-up phone
Clark said he and members of his team are also approaching East Providence
businesses to provide incentives for those who become involved. "Specifically,
we are asking businesses across the city to consider becoming a SENIOR Project
sponsor, by offering coupons, discounts, specials, products or other types
of incentives to residents who sign up to participate in the project,"
Sponsors will receive community-wide recognition on SENIOR Project materials
and will be listed as official sponsors in a program of recruitment promotions.
For Information: Phillip G. Clark 401-874-2689, Dave Lavallee