Dropout from exercise programs for seniors: a prospective cohort study

Maarten Stiggelbout, Marijke Hopman-Rock, Erwin Tak, Lilian Lechner, Willem van Mechelen

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40 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines dropout incidence, moment of dropout, and switching behavior in organized exercise programs for seniors in the Netherlands, as determined in a prospective cohort study (with baseline measurements at the start of the exercise program and follow-up after 6 months; N = 1,725, response rate 73%). Participants were community-living individuals 50+ who participated in different forms of organized exercise programs. The average dropout incidence was 0.15 per 6 months, which is lower than that for the general population. The dropout incidence and the timing of dropout differed substantially between the exercise programs. In total, 31% of people who dropped out of one type of exercise program switched to another type of exercise. The type of program and exercise had a strong effect on differences in this switching behavior. It is recommended that switching behavior be monitored in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-21
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of aging and physical activity
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005


  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Exercise Therapy/statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands/epidemiology
  • Patient Dropouts/psychology
  • Prospective Studies

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