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  • Author: Nora E. Miller x
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Nora E. Miller, Scott J. Strath, Ann M. Swartz and Susan E. Cashin

This study examined the predictive validity of accelerometers (ACC) to estimate physical activity intensity (PAI) across age and differences in intensity predictions when expressed in relative and absolute PAI terms. Ninety adults categorized into 3 age groups (20–29, 40–49, and 60–69 yr) completed a treadmill calibration study with simultaneous ACC (7164 Actigraph) and oxygen-consumption assessment. Results revealed strong linear relations between ACC output and measured PAI (R 2 = .62–.89) across age and similar ACC cut-point ranges across age delineating absolute PAI ranges compared with previous findings. Comparing measured metabolic equivalents (METs) with estimated METs derived from previously published regression equations revealed that age did not affect predictive validity of ACC estimates of absolute PAI. Comparing ACC output expressed in relative vs. absolute terms across age revealed substantial differences in PAI ACC count ranges. Further work is warranted to increase the applicability of ACC use relative to PAI differences associated with physiological changes with age.

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Elizabeth K. Grimm, Ann M. Swartz, Teresa Hart, Nora E. Miller and Scott J. Strath

Older adult physical activity (PA) levels obtained from the International Physical Activity Questionnaire–Short Form (IPAQ) and accelerometry (ACC) were compared. Mean difference scores between accumulated or bout ACC PA and the IPAQ were computed. Spearman rank-order correlations were used to assess relations between time spent in PA measured from ACC and self-reported form of the IPAQ, and percentage agreement across measures was used to classify meeting or not meeting PA recommendations. The IPAQ significantly underestimated sitting and overestimated time spent in almost all PA intensities. Group associations across measures revealed significant relations in walking, total PA, and sitting for the whole group (r = .29–.36, p < .05). Significant relationships between bout ACC and IPAQ walking (r = .28–.39, p < .05) were found. There was 40–46% agreement between measures for meeting PA recommendations. The IPAQ appears not to be a good indicator of individual older adult PA behavior but is better suited for larger population-based samples.

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Ann M. Swartz, Scott J. Strath, Sarah J. Parker and Nora E. Miller

The purpose of this study was to investigate the combined impact of obesity and physical activity (PA) on the health of older adults. Pedometer-determined steps/d, body-mass index (BMI), resting blood pressure, and fasting glucose (FG) were assessed in 137 older adults (69.0 ± 8.9 yr). The active group (>4,227 steps/d) had lower systolic blood pressure (SBP; p = .001), diastolic blood pressure (DBP; p = .028), and FG (p < .001) than the inactive group (≤4,227 steps/d). The normal-BMI group (18.5-24.9 kg/m2) had lower SBP (p < .001) and DBP (p = .01) than the obese group (≤30 kg/m2). There were no differences in SBP (p = .963) or DBP (p = 1.0) between active obese and inactive normal-BMI groups. The active obese group, however, had a more favorable FG than the inactive normal-BMI group (χ2 = 18.9, df = 3, p = .001). Efforts to increase PA of older adults should receive the same priority as reducing obesity to improve BP and FG levels.

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Ann M. Swartz, Sergey Tarima, Nora E. Miller, Teresa L. Hart, Elizabeth K. Grimm, Aubrianne E. Rote and Scott J. Strath

The purpose of the study was to determine the relationship between sedentary behavior (SB), physical activity (PA), and body fat (total, abdominal) or body size (body-mass index [BMI], waist circumference [WC]) in community-dwelling adults 50 yr old and over. This study included 232 ambulatory adults (50–87 yr, 37.4% ± 9.6% body fat [BF]). Average daily time spent in SB (<100 counts/min) and light (100–759 counts/min), lifestyle-moderate (760–1,951 counts/min), walking-moderate (1,952–5,724cts/min), and vigorous-intensity (≥5,725 counts/min) PA were determined by accelerometer and corrected for wear time. BF was measured with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. SB was positively related to measures of BF. Measures of SB, PA, and gender accounted for 55.6% of the variance in total BF, 32.4% of the variance in abdominal fat, and 28.0% of the variance in WC. SB, PA, and age accounted for 27.1% of the variance in BMI. Time spent in SB should be considered when designing obesity interventions for adults 50 yr old and over.

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Scott J. Strath, Ann M. Swartz, Sarah J. Parker, Nora E. Miller, Elizabeth K. Grimm and Susan E. Cashin

Background:

Increasing physical activity (PA) levels in older adults represents an important public health challenge. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of combining individualized motivational messaging with pedometer walking step targets to increase PA in previously inactive and insufficiently active older adults.

Methods:

In this 12-week intervention study older adults were randomized to 1 of 4 study arms: Group 1—control; Group 2—pedometer 10,000 step goal; Group 3—pedometer step goal plus individualized motivational feedback; or Group 4—everything in Group 3 augmented with biweekly telephone feedback.

Results:

81 participants were randomized into the study, 61 participants completed the study with an average age of 63.8 ± 6.0 years. Group 1 did not differ in accumulated steps/day following the 12-week intervention compared with participants in Group 2. Participants in Groups 3 and 4 took on average 2159 (P < .001) and 2488 (P < .001) more steps/day, respectively, than those in Group 1 after the 12-week intervention.

Conclusion:

In this 12-week pilot randomized control trial, a pedometer feedback intervention partnered with individually matched motivational messaging was an effective intervention strategy to significantly increase PA behavior in previously inactive and insufficiently active older adults.