Objective. - During the last ten years a lot of scientific effort has been put into the development and evaluation of effective physical activity programmes for older adults. Many of these new and innovative programmes have been presented at national and international conferences on ageing and physical activity, but less is known about their fate. Methods. - What happened to them after their introduction? Did they reach the intended public? If not, why not? What were the enabling factors and what were the barriers? These questions concern the implementation of the intervention. The researchers and practitioners who develop and evaluate programmes should also pay attention to their dissemination and implementation. This article addresses theoretical and practical aspects of these issues, from the perspective of health promotion. Results and conclusions. - First, attention is paid to the definition of some widely used concepts. Then, the PRECEDE-PROCEED health promotion model of Green and Kreuter is presented. After that, the pathway from basic research to implementation is viewed from the perspective of the researcher and from the perspective of the practitioner. Lastly, some basic principles of the diffusion theory of Rogers are given. (C) 2000 Editions scientifiques et medicales Elsevier SAS.