Physical Activity Predicts Disability in Older Adults

Findings based on a study using accelerometer-measured physical activity

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FRIDAY, Aug. 18, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Accelerometer-measured physical activity (PA) levels are strongly associated with major mobility disability (MMD) and persistent MMD (PMMD) events in older adults with limited mobility, according to a study published online Aug. 11 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Using data from hip-worn seven-day accelerometers, Robert T. Mankowski, Ph.D., from the University of Florida in Gainesville, and colleagues examined associations between physical activity (PA) and incidence of MMD and PMMD in older adults participating in the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders Study. Participants (1,590) were randomized to either structured PA or health education.

The researchers found that at baseline, every 30 minutes spent being sedentary (<100 accelerometry counts per minute) was associated with higher rates of subsequent MMD (10 percent) and PMMD (11 percent) events, while every 500 steps taken was associated with lower rates of MMD (15 percent) and PMMD (18 percent).

"These results support the importance of daily PA and lower amounts of sedentary time levels in this population and suggest that accelerometry may be a useful tool for assessing risk of mobility disability," the authors write.

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