Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Disease Among Older Adults: The Case of Race and Ethnicity

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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The goals of this study were (1) to test the relative contribution of light intensity and moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in older adults, and (2) to examine the influence of ethnicity. We used pooled data from the 2003–2004 and 2005–2006 waves of the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES). The sample consisted of 1,171 non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, and Mexican American adults aged 65 and older. Using ordinary least squares regression, we showed no statistically significant relationship between lower CVD risk with light intensity activity. However, greater minutes of MVPA was associated with lower CVD risk. Mexican Americans had statistically significantly higher risk for CVD compared to non-Hispanic Whites after controlling for physical activity. Mexican Americans remain an at-risk group for CVD. Regardless of race or ethnicity, physical activity recommendations among elders should be for at least moderate intensity activity for a more favorable CVD outcome.

Emerson is with the Department of Health Policy and Management, Institute of Gerontology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA. Gay is with the Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, University of Georgia, Athens, GA.

Address author correspondence to Kerstin Gerst Emerson at emerson@uga.edu.
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