Skip to Content
Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Publications Search - Abstract View

Title: Prevalence and trends in physical activity among older adults in the United States: A comparison across three national surveys.
Authors: Keadle SK,  McKinnon R,  Graubard BI,  Troiano RP
Journal: Prev Med
Date: 2016 Aug
Branches: BB, MEB
PubMed ID: 27196146
PMC ID: PMC4969157
Abstract: This paper examined how many older adults (65+years) are meeting physical activity (PA) Guidelines (PAG; 150min/week of moderate-to-vigorous PA) using data from three leading national surveys (NHANES, BRFSS and NHIS). The proportion of individuals meeting aerobic PAG was determined for the most recent cycle available for each survey (NHANES 2011-12, NHIS and BRFSS 2013). We also assessed whether PAG adherence has changed over time. Predicted margins from multinomial logistic regression were computed after adjusting for age, race/ethnicity and gender and sample weights. The proportion of older adults meeting PAG was 27.3% for NHANES, 35.8% for NHIS and 44.3% for BRFSS. Across all surveys, men reported higher levels of activity than women, Non-Hispanic whites reported higher levels than Non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics, activity declined with age and was lower in those with functional limitations, all P<0.05. The proportion of older adults meeting PAG in the NHIS survey, the only survey where PA questions remained the same over time, increased from 25.7% in 1998 to 35.8% in 2013 (P<0.01). Point-estimates for activity levels are different between surveys but they consistently identify sub-groups who are less active. Although older adults are reporting more activity over time, adherence to aerobic and strength training PAG remains low in this population and there is a need for effective interventions to prevent age-related declines in PA and address health disparities among older adults.