The relationship of chronic disease and demographic variables to physical activity in a sample of women aged 65 to 79 years.
This study explored the relationship between physical activity, marital status, income, education, and chronic disease in older women to determine which individuals are at risk of being inactive and to identify potential moderators of physical activity behavior. This was an analysis of cross-sectional data from a convenience sample of 271 community-dwelling women aged 65 to 79 years. Self-reported physical activity was measured using the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly. Socio-demographic characteristics (including age, gender, marital status, education, employment, and income) and self-reported health were measured using previously validated instruments. To avoid seasonal variations in physical activity, data were collected during the summer months. Physical activity was negatively associated with age and the presence of cardio-respiratory disease and positively associated with income greater than $20,000 (p < 0.05). After controlling for other co-variates, no significant differences were observed in physical activity between married and unmarried individuals. Given the strong association between cardio-respiratory disease and income with physical activity, women 65 years of age and older in lower income brackets and suffering from these health conditions should be targeted for exercise counseling and support. Intervention research is needed to determine the most effective means to decrease inactivity among these women.
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