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Physical Activity, Sedentary Time, and Frailty in Older Migrant Women From Ethnically Diverse Backgrounds: A Mixed-Methods Study

Diana Castaneda-Gameros, Sabi Redwood, and Janice L. Thompson

There is limited evidence examining the association between physical activity (PA), sedentary time (ST), frailty, and factors influencing PA behaviors in migrant older women from ethnically diverse backgrounds. The aims of this mixed-methods study were to: 1) examine PA levels and ST across frailty status; 2) identify any differences in PA/ST between ethnic and religious groups; and 3) qualitatively explore factors influencing PA among older (≥60 years) migrant women (n = 60). PA/ST were assessed using accelerometry and frailty status using the frailty phenotype. Key factors influencing PA were explored via semi-structured interviews (n = 36) and analyzed using thematic analysis. Participants were highly sedentary irrespective of frailty status. Moderate-to-vigorous-physical activity (MVPA) was independently associated with frailty. Participants spent 69% of waking time in ST, with only 15% meeting current weekly PA recommendations. Health-related and socio-cultural factors were reported as common barriers to achieving PA recommendations. Maintaining independence, preventing physical decline and depression were key factors promoting PA. Understanding the challenges and needs of this population can help to inform strategies to promote PA and thus optimize physical function.

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Determinants of Neighborhood Activity of Adults Age 70 and Over: A Mixed-Methods Study

Afroditi Stathi, Holly Gilbert, Kenneth R. Fox, Jo Coulson, Mark Davis, and Janice L. Thompson

Background:

This mixed-methods study investigated personal, interpersonal, and environmental factors salient to decisions about being active in neighborhoods of different levels of deprivation.

Methods:

Twenty-five participants age 70 years and older (10 women) with diverse physical activity levels provided data on their weekly activity patterns (using accelerometry) and their perceived barriers to exercise (questionnaire). They also participated in semistructured individual interviews exploring the barriers and facilitators influencing neighborhood activity.

Results:

Functional limitations, lack of intrinsic motivation, and not having an activity companion were the highest impact barriers. Walkable access to amenities, positive physical activity perceptions, and existing habit of being active were the highest impact facilitators.

Conclusions:

The perceived quality and accessibility of the built and natural environments influence neighborhood activity in older adults. However, this relationship might be altered through the influence of personal and interpersonal determinants such as maintenance of good health and functional ability and supportive social networks.

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Objectively Measured Sedentary Time and its Association With Physical Function in Older Adults

Mark G. Davis, Kenneth R. Fox, Afroditi Stathi, Tanya Trayers, Janice L. Thompson, and Ashley R. Cooper

The relationship of objectively measured sedentary time (ST), frequency of breaks in ST, and lower extremity function (LEF) was investigated in a diverse sample aged ≥ 70 years (n = 217). Physical activity (PA) was assessed by accelerometry deriving moderate-vigorous PA (MVPA) minutes per registered hour (MVPA min · hr−1), registered ST (ST min · hr−1), and breaks in ST min · hr−1 (breaks · hr−1). LEF was assessed by the Short Physical Performance Battery. Univariate associations with overall LEF were MVPA (r = .523), ST (r = −.499), and breaks (r = .389). Adjusted linear regression including MVPA min · hr−1, ST min · hr−1, and breaks · hr−1 explained 41.5% of LEF variance. Each additional break · hr−1 was associated with 0.58 point increase in LEF. Breaks and MVPA had strongest independent associations with LEF. Promoting regular breaks might be useful in maintaining or increasing LEF and later life independence. This novel finding is important for the design of effective lifestyle interventions targeting older adults.

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Understanding the Accuracy of Parental Perceptions of Child Physical Activity: A Mixed Methods Analysis

Joanna M. Kesten, Russ Jago, Simon J. Sebire, Mark J. Edwards, Laura Pool, Jesmond Zahra, and Janice L. Thompson

Background:

Interventions to increase children’s physical activity (PA) have achieved limited success. This may be attributed to inaccurate parental perceptions of their children’s PA and a lack of recognition of a need to change activity levels.

Methods:

Fifty-three parents participated in semistructured interviews to determine perceptions of child PA. Perceptions were compared with children’s measured MVPA (classified as meeting or not meeting UK guidelines) to produce 3 categories: “accurate,” “over-estimate,” and “under-estimate.” Deductive content analysis was performed to understand the accuracy of parental perceptions.

Results:

All parents of children meeting the PA guidelines accurately perceived their child’s PA; while the majority of parents whose child did not meet the guidelines overestimated their PA. Most parents were unconcerned about their child’s PA level, viewing them as naturally active and willing to be active. Qualitative explanations for perceptions of insufficient activity included children having health problems and preferences for inactive pursuits, and parents having difficulty facilitating PA in poor weather and not always observing their child’s PA level. Social comparisons also influenced parental perceptions.

Conclusions:

Strategies to improve parental awareness of child PA are needed. Perceptions of child PA may be informed by child “busyness,” being unaware of activity levels, and social comparisons.