Is it 'too bloody late'? Older people's response to the national physical activity guidelines

Document Type

Journal Article


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure




Henley, N. and Jackson, J. (2006). Is it ‘too bloody late’? Older people’s response to the National Physical Activity Guidelines. Journal of Research for Consumers, 10. Available here.


The National Physical Activity Guidelines (NPAGs) are the evidencebased recommendations on physical activity for all Australians. This study examines the attitudes of older people to the NPAGs with the aim of identifying communication objectives for social marketing practitioners when designing messages about physical activity specifically targeted at older people. Eight focus groups were conducted at the Positive Ageing Foundation’s conference rooms in Perth, Western Australia, with between six and eight participants in each. None of the participants had previously seen the NPAGs but some of the content had filtered through in the media. Of most concern was that some participants felt that it was already too late for older people to become more physically active. Participants were receptive to a holistic approach including social interaction and mental stimulation for overall health and well-being, but males in particular were cynical towards the source of social marketing messages. The findings suggest that social marketers targeting older people with physical activity need to address three key communication objectives: 1) the benefits of ‘incidental’ physical activity; 2) that short bouts of moderate-intensity physical activity can be accumulated throughout the day to total the recommended thirty minutes; and 3) it’s never too late to benefit from being more physically active.

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