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Factors that influence meeting the recommended weekly physical activity target among older people with physical multimorbidity: evidence from six low- and middle-income countries

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-05-14, 13:40 authored by Lee Smith, Dong Keon Yon, Laurie Butler, Karel Kostev, Carol Brayne, Yvonne Barnett, Benjamin Underwood, Jae il Shin, Masoud Rahmati, Sharon Neufeld, Anya Ragnhildstveit, Guillermo Lopez-Sanchez, Ai Koyanagi

Background: There is a scarcity of studies on the association between physical multimorbidity and lower levels of physical activity among older adults from low- and middle-income countries, while the potential mediating variables in this association are largely unknown.Methods: Cross-sectional, community-based, nationally representative data from the World Health Organization Study on global AGEing and adult health were analyzed. Data on 11 chronic physical conditions were collected. Scoring <150 minutes of moderate- to high-intensity physical activity per week was considered low physical activity. Multivariable logistic regression and mediation analysis were done to assess associations and quality of life measures which might influence these associations.Results: Data on 14,585 people aged ≥65 years were analyzed (mean [SD] age 72.6 (11.5) y, maximum age 114 y; 55.0% women). After adjustment for potential confounders, compared with no chronic conditions, ≥3 conditions were associated with a significant 1.59 to 2.42 times higher odds for low physical activity. Finally, mobility mediated the largest proportion of the association between ≥3 chronic physical conditions and low physical activity (mediated percentage 50.7%), followed by activities of daily living disability (30.7%), cognition (24.0%), affect (23.6%), and pain/discomfort (22.0%).Conclusions: Physical multimorbidity was associated with higher odds for low physical activity among older adults residing in low- and middle-income countries. Mobility, disability, cognition, affect, and pain/discomfort explained the largest proportion of this association. Given the universal benefits of regular and sustained participation in physical activity, it would be prudent to implement interventions among older people with physical multimorbidity to increase levels of physical activity. Future studies should assess the impact of addressing the identified potential mediators among people with multimorbidity on physical activity levels.



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Journal of Physical Activity and Health




Human Kinetics

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  • School of Psychology and Sport Science Outputs