Physical Activity Among Foreign-Born Older Adults in Canada: A Mixed-Method Study Conducted in Five Languages

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Foreign-born older adults (FBOAs) are at risk for negative health transitions in Canada. Physical activity (PA) enhances health, yet we know very little about the PA habits of FBOAs in Canada. We conducted a mixed-method study in English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Punjabi, and Hindi, with 49 South Asian and Chinese FBOAs in Vancouver, Canada. In total, 49 participants completed surveys; of these 49, 46 wore accelerometers and 18 completed in-depth interviews. Participants’ mean daily step count was 7,876 (women: 8,172, men: 7,164, Chinese: 8,291, and South Asian: 7,196). The bulk of their time is spent in light and sedentary activities. PA is principally acquired through walking for errands and work performed in and around the home. This study challenges the assumption that FBOAs are less active than their nonimmigrant peers and confirms the key role of “nonexercise” and low activity, rather than moderate to vigorous, in older adults’ PA acquisition.

Tong, Sims Gould, and McKay are with Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Sims Gould and McKay are also with the Faculty of Medicine, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Address author correspondence to Catherine E. Tong at Catherine.Tong@hiphealth.ca.
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