This study examined the intensity of activity contributing to physical activity energy expenditure in older adults. In 57 men and women aged ≥ 65, total energy expenditure (TEE) was measured using doubly labeled water and resting metabolic rate was measured using indirect calorimetry to calculate a physical activity index (PAI). Sedentary time and physical activity of light and moderate to vigorous (mod/vig) intensity was measured using an accelerometer. The subjects were 75 ± 7 yrs (mean ± SD) of age and 79% female. Subjects spent 66 ± 8, 25 ± 5, and 9 ± 4% of monitor wear time in sedentary, light, and mod/vig activity per day, respectively. In a mixture regression model, both light (β = 29.6 [15.6–43.6, 95% CI]), p < .001) and mod/vig intensity activity (β = 28.7 [7.4−50.0, 95% CI]), p = .01) were strongly associated with PAI, suggesting that both light and mod/vig intensity activities are major determinants of their physical activity energy expenditure.
Colbert is with the Department of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI. Matthews is with the Nutritional Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD. Schoeller is with the Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI. Havighurst and Kim are with the Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI.