The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) commenced in Australia in 1996 when researchers recruited approximately 40,000 women in three birth cohorts: 1973–1978, 1946–1951, and 1921–1926. Since then participants have completed surveys on a wide range of health issues, at approximately three-year intervals. This overview describes changes in physical activity (PA) over time in the mid-age and older ALSWH cohorts, and summarizes the findings of studies published to date on the determinants of PA, and its associated health outcomes in Australian women. The ALSWH data show a significant increase in PA during mid-age, and a rapid decline in activity levels when women are in their 80s. The study has demonstrated the importance of life stages and key life events as determinants of activity, the additional benefits of vigorous activity for mid-age women, and the health benefits of ‘only walking’ for older women. ALSWH researchers have also drawn attention to the benefits of activity in terms of a wide range of physical and mental health outcomes, as well as overall vitality and well-being. The data indicate that maintaining a high level of PA throughout mid and older age will not only reduce the risk of premature death, but also significantly extend the number of years of healthy life.
Wendy J. Brown and Toby Pavey
Katie E. Cherry, Jennifer Silva Brown, Sangkyu Kim, and S. Michal Jazwinski
Social behaviors are associated with health outcomes in later life. The authors examined relationships among social and physical activities and health in a lifespan sample of adults (N = 771) drawn from the Louisiana Healthy Aging Study (LHAS). Four age groups were compared: younger (21–44 years), middle-aged (45–64 years), older (65–84 years), and oldest-old adults (85–101 years). Linear regression analyses indicated that physical activity, hours spent outside of the house, and social support were significantly associated with selfreported health, after controlling for sociodemographic factors. Number of clubs was significantly associated with objective health status, after controlling for sociodemographic factors. These data indicate that social and physical activities remain important determinants of self-perceived health into very late adulthood. Implications of these data for current views on successful aging are discussed.
L.R. Brawley, P.K. Flora, S.R. Locke, and M.S.H. Gierc
In this paper, we argue that the social influence of the group is a supportive medium for older adult thriving. To promote the physical well-being aspect of thriving, we discuss groups as one means of offering social support. We present a specific model of physical activity intervention (i.e., group-mediated cognitive behavioral intervention) that uses deliberately-formed interactive groups to help motivate older adults to engage in and sustain physical activity. Our article includes four sections that concern the GMCB intervention model. The first serves as background as to why groups can be powerful behavior change agents and describes the basic model of group motivated intervention. The second section provides a generic description of the intervention structure and how the GMCB intervention is conducted. The third section presents a meta-analytic summary of results of older adult GMCB physical activity interventions across three levels of outcomes: adherence to physical activity, functional and physiological, and social cognitive. The fourth section concludes with commentary about the translational perspective for the GMCB in the future.
Peter W. Grandjean, Burritt W. Hess, Nicholas Schwedock, Jackson O. Griggs, and Paul M. Gordon
Kinesiology programs are well positioned to create and develop partnerships within the university, with local health care providers, and with the community to integrate and enhance the activities of professional training, community service, public health outreach, and collaborative research. Partnerships with medical and health care organizations may be structured to fulfill accreditation standards and the objectives of the “Exercise is Medicine®” initiative to improve public health through primary prevention. Barriers of scale, location, time, human resources, and funding can be overcome so all stakeholder benefits are much greater than the costs.
John R. Todorovich, Daniel K. Drost, F. Stephen Bridges, and Christopher K. Wirth
Disciplinary isolation has facilitated health education, public health, and physical education professionals to sometimes pursue common goals without the benefit of interdisciplinary collaboration and perspectives. Recognizing the potential benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration efforts to solve complex problems, faculty members at the University of West Florida developed an innovative doctoral program combining the disciplines of physical education, health education, and health promotion. Beginning with the salient common ground of issues related to engagement in physical activity, the program is designed to explore, compare, and contrast best practices in research and practice from each discipline. Benefits include synergistic solutions to common problems, graduates who transcend traditional professional silos to be more impactful, and the creation of innovative research endeavors. Graduates also find that they meet contemporary workforce needs outside of academia and are more marketable as faculty in kinesiology and health-related departments because of their rich, multidisciplinary knowledge base. Challenges to program implementation include prior student socialization from traditional studies in their disciplines and faculty working to move beyond their professional comfort zones to collaboratively mentor students in the program.
Barbara E. Ainsworth and Steven P. Hooker
The health-enhancing benefits of regular physical activity have been theorized for thousands of years. Within the past 25 years, public health agencies, health-related organizations, and health-focused foundations have recognized regular physical activity as a major factor in preventing premature morbidity and mortality. Colleges and universities have experienced a paradigm shift in applying public health strategies to prepare graduates in understanding how to reduce the impact of sedentary lifestyles on health outcomes. For nearly 20 years, some kinesiology departments have expanded from traditional curricula to new courses and degrees in promoting physical activity in the community, the application of epidemiology concepts to physical activity, and the study of policy and environmental approaches to promoting physical activity. Given the high prevalence of physical activity insufficient to prevent premature morbidity and mortality, continuing educational efforts are needed to assure kinesiology students have the skills and information needed to promote physical activity in communities to people of all ages and abilities.