Neighborhood Mobility and Unmet Physical Activity Need in Old Age: A 2-Year Follow-Up

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Background: Many older people report a willingness to increase outdoor physical activity (PA), but no opportunities for it, a situation termed as unmet PA need. The authors studied whether lower neighborhood mobility and PA precede the development of unmet PA need. Methods: Community-dwelling 75- to 90-year-old people (n = 700) were interviewed annually for 2 years. Unmet PA need, neighborhood mobility, and PA were self-reported. In addition, accelerometer-based step counts were assessed among a subgroup (n = 156). Results: Logistic regression analyses revealed that lower baseline neighborhood mobility (odds ratio 3.02, 95% confidence interval [1.86, 4.90] vs. daily) and PA (odds ratio 4.37, 95% confidence interval [2.62, 7.29] vs. high) were associated with the development of unmet PA need over 2 years. The participants with higher step counts had a lower risk for unmet PA need (odds ratio 0.68, 95% confidence interval, [0.54, 0.87]). Conclusion: Maintaining higher PA levels and finding solutions for daily outdoor mobility, especially for those with declines in health, may protect from the development of unmet PA need.

Palmberg, Portegijs, Rantanen, and Viljanen are with Gerontology Research Center, Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland. Aartolahti and Hirvensalo are with the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland. Rantakokko is with the School of Health and Social Studies, JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Jyväskylä, Finland.

Palmberg (lotta.m.palmberg@jyu.fi) is corresponding author.
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