Evaluating physical activity in dementia: a systematic review of outcomes to inform the development of a core outcome set

Background: physical activity is recommended for people living with dementia, but evidence for the positive effects of physical activity is limited by the use of heterogeneous outcomes and measurement tools. This systematic literature review aimed to summarise previously reported outcomes and identify the measurement tools used most frequently in physical activity interventions for people with dementia. Methods: literature searches were conducted in April 2015, on Delphis and Medline. Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods studies reporting on any type of physical activity, in any setting, across types of dementia, stages of disease progression and published from 2005 onwards were included. A content analysis approach was used to report on the frequency of reported outcomes and measurement tools. Results: the 130 included studies reported on 133 different outcome domains and 267 different measurement tools. 'Functional abilities and independence' (n = 69), 'Global cognitive function' (n = 65), 'Balance' (n = 43), 'Global behavioural symptoms of dementia' (n = 42) and 'Health-related quality of life' (n = 40) were the most frequently reported outcome domains. 'Enjoyment' was the outcome most frequently sought by patients and carers. Conclusion: the need for the development and implementation of a Core Outcome Set has been reinforced. Ahead of the completion of the Core Outcome Set, researchers and clinicians are advised to measure the impact of physical activity interventions on these frequently reported outcome domains.


Goncalves, A. C. Cruz, J. Marques, A. Demain, S. Samuel, D.


Journal: Age & Ageing
Volume: 47
Issue: 1
Pages: 34 - 41
Year: 2018
DOI: 10.1093/ageing/afx135

Further Study Information

Current Stage: Not Applicable
Date: - April 2015
Funding source(s): his work was partially supported by Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional (FEDER) through Programa Operacional Competitividade e Internacionalização (COMPETE) and Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) under the project UID/BIM/ 04501/2013.

Health Area

Disease Category: Neurology

Disease Name: Dementia

Target Population

Age Range: Unknown

Sex: Either

Nature of Intervention: Exercise, Physical

Stakeholders Involved

- None

Study Type

- Systematic review of outcome measures/measurement instruments
- Systematic review of outcomes measured in trials


- Systematic review