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  • Author: Jannique G.Z. van Uffelen x
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Jannique G. Z. van Uffelen, Kristiann C. Heesch and Wendy Brown

Background:

While there is emerging evidence that sedentary behavior is negatively associated with health risk, research on the correlates of sitting time in adults is scarce.

Methods:

Self-report data from 7724 women born between 1973–1978 and 8198 women born between 1946–1951 were collected as part of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. Linear regression models were computed to examine whether demographic, family and caring duties, time use, health, and health behavior variables were associated with weekday sitting time.

Results:

Mean sitting time (SD) was 6.60 (3.32) hours/day for the 1973–1978 cohort and 5.70 (3.04) hours/day for the 1946–1951 cohort. Indicators of socioeconomic advantage, such as full-time work and skilled occupations in both cohorts and university education in the mid-age cohort, were associated with high sitting time. A cluster of ‘healthy behaviors’ was associated with lower sitting time in the mid-aged women (moderate/high physical activity levels, nonsmoking, nondrinking). For both cohorts, sitting time was highest in women in full-time work, in skilled occupations, and in those who spent the most time in passive leisure.

Conclusions:

The results suggest that, in young and mid-aged women, interventions for reducing sitting time should focus on both occupational and leisure-time sitting.

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Jannique G.Z. van Uffelen, Marijke J.M. Chinapaw, Marijke Hopman-Rock and Willem van Mechelen

This study examined the feasibility and effect on aerobic fitness of a 1-yr, twice-weekly, group-based moderate-intensity walking program (MI-WP, n = 77) compared with a low-intensity activity program (LI-AP, n = 75) for community-dwelling older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Thirty participants did not start a program; median attendance in the other 122 participants was 71%. Small but significant associations were observed between attendance and memory in the MI-WP and general cognition in the LI-AP. Associations were no longer significant when both groups were analyzed together. Intensity, assessed using percentage of heart-rate reserve and the Borg scale, equaled intended intensity for both programs. Aerobic fitness improved significantly in participants in the MI-WP. In conclusion, cognition was not clearly associated with attendance in the 62 participants starting the MI-WP, and average attendance was good. The intensity was feasible for participants who continued the MI-WP. The findings support the proposal that regular moderate-intensity walking improves aerobic fitness in adults with MCI.

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Claire R. Jenkin, Rochelle M. Eime, Hans Westerbeek and Jannique G.Z. van Uffelen

Despite the health benefits of sport, the proportion of people participating in sport decreases with age. This qualitative study explored the benefits and barriers regarding older adult community sport participation, from the perspective of national sporting organizations, in addition to older adult sport club and nonsport club members, across eight focus group interviews (n = 49). Seven benefits were discussed, primarily social and physical health and intergenerational opportunities. Ten barriers were also discussed, including physical health, time constraints, and lack of appropriate playing opportunities. Ensuring access to activities that can benefit social health is of great importance to older adults. As sport can provide participation opportunities across generations, it can be an ideal physical activity option for this age group. However, a major barrier is that sport policy often prioritizes the participation for younger age groups. Policymakers should include a focus on older adults, to derive social health benefits.

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Stephanie Alley, Jannique G.Z. van Uffelen, Mitch J. Duncan, Katrien De Cocker, Stephanie Schoeppe, Amanda L. Rebar and Corneel Vandelanotte

This study examined sitting time, knowledge, and intentions to change sitting time in older adults. An online survey was completed by 494 Australians aged 65+. Average daily sitting was high (9.0 hr). Daily sitting time was the highest during TV (3.3 hr), computer (2.1 hr), and leisure (1.7 hr). A regression analysis demonstrated that women were more knowledgeable about the health risks of sitting compared to men. The percentage of older adults intending to sit less were the highest for TV (24%), leisure (24%), and computer (19%) sitting time. Regression analyses demonstrated that intentions varied by gender (for TV sitting), education (leisure and work sitting), body mass index (computer, leisure, and transport sitting), and physical activity (TV, computer, and leisure sitting). Interventions should target older adults’ TV, computer, and leisure time sitting, with a focus on intentions in older males and older adults with low education, those who are active, and those with a normal weight.

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Erwin C.P.M. Tak, Jannique G.Z. van Uffelen, Mai J.M. Chin A Paw, Willem van Mechelen and Marijke Hopman-Rock

After a randomized controlled trial showing that improvement on some aspects of cognitive function was related to adherence to an exercise program, determinants of adherence and maintenance were further studied. Older adults with mild cognitive impairment were contacted 6 mo after the end of exercise programs for a telephone interview addressing patterns of adherence and determinants of maintenance. Mean adherence during the trial was 53%. About one third of participants had lapses during the trial but completed, one third had no lapses, and one third dropped out or never started. Practical barriers (time, location) were related to not starting and functional limitations to dropout. After the trial 25% of participants continued the programs, 14% reported intention to continue, and 61% quit. Maintenance was determined by fewer health complaints, higher satisfaction with the programs, and better adherence during the programs. Although maintenance was low, this study identified several reasons and barriers to adherence and maintenance that could be addressed.

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Pamela K. Samra, Amanda L. Rebar, Lynne Parkinson, Jannique G.Z. van Uffelen, Stephanie Schoeppe, Deborah Power, Anthony Schneiders, Corneel Vandelanotte and Stephanie Alley

An understanding of physical activity attitudes, preferences, and experiences in older adults is important for informing interventions. Focus groups were conducted with 46 regionally-based Australian adults aged 65 years and older, who were not currently meeting activity recommendations. Content analysis revealed that participants mainly engaged in incidental activities such as gardening and household chores rather than planned exercise; however, leisure-time walking was also mentioned frequently. Although participants valued the physical and mental health benefits of physical activity, they reported being restricted by poor physical health, extreme weather, and fear of injury. Participants were interested in exercise groups and physical activity programs tailored to their existing physical health. The majority of participants reported preferring to be active with others. The findings from this study are useful in for informing future interventions specifically tailored to the needs of older adults in Australia.