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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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Tanya Trayers, Debbie A. Lawlor, Kenneth R. Fox, Jo Coulson, Mark Davis, Afroditi Stathi and Tim Peters

Associations of objectively measured physical activity (PA) with objectively measured lower limb function in adults age 70 and older were studied. Lower limb function was assessed using the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) and PA by an accelerometer providing mean daily counts per minute (CPM), mean daily steps and minutes of moderate or vigorous PA (MVPA) per day. A minority (32 [13%]) scored low (≤6 out of a maximum of 12) on the SPPB, but only 3 (1%) achieved recommended PA levels. Adjusting for confounders, the odds ratio of low SPPB (≤6) comparing those in the lowest one third to highest two thirds of mean CPM was 55 (95%CI: 6, 520); for mean steps per day it was 23 (95%CI: 4, 137) and for minutes of MVPA per day 56 (95%CI: 6, 530). Low levels of PA are common and are associated with poor levels of lower limb function in older adults.