Age-Friendly Environments, Active Lives? Associations Between the Local Physical and Social Environment and Physical Activity Among Adults Aged 55 and Older in Ireland

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Despite the benefits, one in three older adults in Ireland has low activity levels. This study examined associations between the local social and built environment and physical activity of older adults to identify age-friendly factors that support physical activity among the aging population. Data were from the population-representative Healthy and Positive Ageing Initiative Age-Friendly City and Counties Survey (N = 10,540). Physical activity was measured using a short-form of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Mixed-effects negative binomial regression models were adjusted for known health and sociodemographic correlates of physical activity. Results are reported as unstandardized beta coefficients (β) with standard errors. Loneliness, community participation, and difficulty in accessing green spaces partially explained the differences in the number of minutes that respondents were physically active. Combined with individual-level behavior change interventions, improvements to the local environment and promoting social connectedness may also be useful in promoting physical activity among older adults.

Ward is with The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland. Ward, Gibney, O’Callaghan, and Shannon are with Healthy and Positive Ageing Initiative, Department of Health, Hawkins House, Dublin, Ireland.

Ward (wardm8@tcd.ie) is corresponding author.
Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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