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BMC Public Health

, 14:382

Health behavior, health promotion and society


BackgroundPhysical activity PA levels in older adults decline with age. The prevalence and correlates of adherence to current UK PA guidelines in older adults has not been studied using objectively measured PA, which can examine precisely whether PA is carried out in bouts of specified length and intensity.

MethodsFree living men and women aged 70–93 years from 25 towns in the United Kingdom, participating in parallel on-going population based cohort studies were invited by post to wear a GT3x accelerometer over the hip for one week in 2010–12. Adherence to UK PA guidelines was defined as ≥150 minutes-week of moderate or vigorous PA MVPA in bouts of ≥10 minutes; the effect of different intensities and durations were examined.

Results1593 men and 857 women participated responses 51% and 29% respectively. 15% men and 10% women achieved ≥150 minutes-week of MVPA defined as >1040 cpm in bouts lasting ≥10 minutes. With MVPA defined as >1952 cpm, prevalences were 7% and 3% respectively. Those adhering to guidelines were younger, had fewer chronic health conditions, less depression, less severe mobility limitations, but higher exercise self-efficacy and exercise outcomes expectations. They rated their local environment more highly for social activities and leisure facilities, having somewhere nice to go for a walk and feeling safe after dark, They left the house on more days per week, were more likely to use active transport cycle or walk and to walk a dog regularly.

ConclusionsFew older adults attain current PA guidelines. Health promotion to extend the duration of moderate-intensity activity episodes to 10 minutes or more could yield important health gains among older adults. However future studies will need to clarify whether attaining guideline amounts of PA in spells lasting 10 minutes or more is critical for reducing chronic disease risks as well as improving cardiometabolic risk factors.

KeywordsOlder adults Physical activity Accelerometer Physical health Depression Self-efficacy AbbreviationsPAPhysical activity

MVPAModerate to vigorous physical activity

MVPA5+Moderate to vigorous physical activity in bouts lasting 5 minutes or more

MVPA10+Moderate to vigorous physical activity in bouts lasting 10 minutes or more

CVDCardiovascular disease

METMetabolic equivalent of task

CPMCounts per minute.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2458-14-382 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Barbara J Jefferis - Claudio Sartini - I-Min Lee - Minkyoung Choi - Antoinette Amuzu - Christina Gutierrez - Juan Pablo C


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