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Hadas Gabizon, Yan Press, Ilia Volkov and Itshak Melzer

Objectives:

To evaluate the effect of a group-based Pilates training program on balance control and health status in healthy older adults.

Design:

A single-blind, randomized, controlled trial.

Setting:

General community.

Participants:

A total of 88 community-dwelling older adults (age 71.15 ± 4.30 years), without evidence of functional balance impairment, were recruited and allocated at random to a Pilates intervention group (n = 44) or a control group (n = 44).

Intervention:

The Pilates intervention group received 36 training sessions over three months (3 sessions a week), while the control group did not receive any intervention.

Outcome measures:

Standing upright postural stability, performance-based measures of balance, and self-reported health status was assessed in both groups at baseline and at the end of the intervention period.

Results:

Compared with the control group, the Pilates intervention did not improve postural stability, baseline functional measures of balance, or health status.

Conclusions:

The results suggest that because Pilates training is not task specific, it does not improve balance control or balance function in independent older adults.

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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.

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Ashleigh J. Sowle, Sarah L. Francis, Jennifer A. Margrett, Mack C. Shelley and Warren D. Franke

(age, gender, ethnicity, self-reported health status, living arrangements, marital status, and contact with younger adults), self-reported PA readiness-to-change, self-efficacy to overcome perceived barriers to PA, and PA self-efficacy. Education status and cognitive status were not measured. Self-reported

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Jeffery P. Hughes, Margaret A. McDowell and Debra J. Brody

Background:

We examined leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) in US adults 60 or more years of age. After determining the prevalence of 3 levels of LTPA (no LTPA, <150 minutes LTPA/wk, and ≥150 minutes of LTPA/wk), we examined the association of demographic variables and current health status with LTPA.

Methods:

Self-reported LTPA was examined by gender, age, race/ethnicity, education, family poverty income ratio, marital status, and self-reported health. Multiple logistic regression methods were used in the adjusted model.

Results:

Walking was the most frequently reported LTPA. Overall, 27% of adults achieved LTPA levels of 150 minutes or more per week. Male gender, younger age, non-Hispanic white race/ethnicity, higher education attainment, higher income status, being married, and excellent self-reported health were associated with higher LTPA. The prevalence of no LTPA (52.5%) exceeded the Healthy People 2010 objective target of 20%.

Conclusions:

Our findings show that more than half of adults 60 or more years of age reported no LTPA and that levels of LTPA in the older population vary by demographic and health characteristics.

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Philipe de Souto Barreto, Anne-Marie Ferrandez and Bérengère Saliba-Serre

Background:

Participation bias in exercise studies is poorly understood among older adults. This study was aimed at looking into whether older persons who volunteer to participate in an exercise study differ from nonvolunteers.

Methods:

A self-reported questionnaire on physical activity and general health was mailed out to 1000 persons, aged 60 or over, who were covered by the medical insurance of the French National Education System. Among them, 535 answered it and sent it back. Two hundred and thirty-three persons (age 69.7 ±7.6, 65.7% women) said they would volunteer to participate in an exercise study and 270 (age 71.7 ±8.8, 62.2% women) did not.

Results:

Volunteers were younger and more educated than nonvolunteers, but they did not differ in sex. They had less physical function decline and higher volumes of physical activity than nonvolunteers. Compared with volunteers, nonvolunteers had a worse self-reported health and suffered more frequently from chronic pain. Multiple logistic regressions showed that good self-reported health, absence of chronic pain, and lower levels of physical function decline were associated with volunteering to participate in an exercise study.

Conclusions:

Volunteers were fitter and healthier than nonvolunteers. Therefore, caution must be taken when generalizing the results of exercise intervention studies.

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Trudy L. Moore-Harrison, Mary Ann Johnson, Mary Ellen Quinn and M. Elaine Cress

Background:

This study examined the feasibility of implementing the EnhanceFitness Program (formerly Lifetime Fitness Program), an evidence-based exercise program, at congregate-meal sites that generally serve low-income older adults.

Methods:

A 12-week aerobic and strength training exercise program was held at senior centers 3 times a week.

Results:

The mean age of the 31 participants was 73.5 years ± 6.7 years (60–86). Participants’ compliance with attending the exercise class was 74%. Paired t tests were used to evaluate change after the intervention. Three out of six components of the Senior Fitness Test increased significantly after the exercise intervention (P < .003). Three out of the eight self-reported health concepts of the SF-36 demonstrated significant improvement after the exercise intervention (P < .003).

Conclusion:

These data indicate that an evidence-based exercise program can be successfully implemented in this population.

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Jennifer N. Fogarty, Kelly J. Murphy, Bruce McFarlane, Manuel Montero-Odasso, Jennie Wells, Angela K. Troyer, Daniel Trinh, Iris Gutmanis and Kevin T. Hansen

Objective:

It was hypothesized that a combined Taoist Tai Chi (TTC) and a memory intervention program (MIP) would be superior to a MIP alone in improving everyday memory behaviors in individuals with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). A secondary hypothesis was that TTC would improve cognition, self-reported health status, gait, and balance.

Method:

A total of 48 individuals were randomly assigned to take part in MIP + TTC or MIP alone. The TTC intervention consisted of twenty 90 min sessions. Outcome measures were given at baseline, and after 10 and 22 weeks.

Results:

Both groups significantly increased their memory strategy knowledge and use, ratings of physical health, processing speed, everyday memory, and visual attention. No preferential benefit was found for individuals in the MIP + TTC group on cognition, gait, or balance measures.

Conclusions:

Contrary to expectations, TTC exercise did not specifically improve cognition or physical mobility. Explanations for null findings are explored.

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Julie Freelove-Charton, Heather R Bowles and Steven Hooker

Background:

This study examined the association between health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and physical activity (PA) among adults with arthritis.

Methods:

National 2003 2003 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey data for 51,444 adults, age ≥50 y, with physician-diagnosed arthritis were used to analyze the relationships between PA, self-reported health, HRQOL, and activity limitations related to arthritis.

Results:

The percentage of older adults with or without an activity limitation who reported fair/poor health or poor HRQOL was significantly higher in inactive persons compared to those who met PA recommendations (p < .0001). Older adults with and without limitations attaining either recommended or insufficient levels of PA were 39% to 70% less likely to report ≥14 unhealthy mental or physical days compared to inactive older adults (p < .0001).

Conclusion:

Participation in PA at the recommended level was strongly associated with improved perceived health and higher levels of HRQOL; however, participation in some PA was clearly better than being inactive. These data were consistent for persons with arthritis despite the presence of an activity limitation.

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Marlana J. Kohn, Basia Belza, Miruna Petrescu-Prahova, Christina E. Miyawaki and Katherine H. Hohman

This study examined participant demographic and physical function characteristics from EnhanceFitness, an evidence-based physical activity program for older adults. The sample consisted of 19,964 older adults. Participant data included self-reported health and demographic variables, and results for three physical function tests: chair stand, arm curls, and timed up-and-go. Linear regression models compared physical function test results among eight program site types. Participants were, on average, 72 years old, predominantly female, and reported having one chronic condition. Residential site participants’ physical function test results were significantly poorer on chair stand and timed up-and-go measures at baseline, and timed up-and-go at a four-month follow-up compared with the reference group (senior centers) after controlling for demographic variables and site clustering. Evidence-based health-promotion programs offered in community settings should assess demographic, health, and physical function characteristics to best serve participants’ specific needs, and offer classes tailored to participant function and ability while maintaining program fidelity.

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Marita Södergren, Kristina Sundquist, Sven-Erik Johansson, Jan Sundquist and Maria Hagströmer

Background:

The purpose of this study was to examine the association between total self-reported health-enhancing physical activity and country of birth among women living in Sweden.

Methods:

Women (age 18 to 65 years) born in Sweden, Finland, Chile, and Iraq were recruited for this cross-sectional study. Data were collected by means of a postal questionnaire including the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ-long version). Self-reported physical activity data were converted to MET-minutes per week and analyzed as continuous or categorical scores. A total of 2649 women were included in the analyses. The association between physical activity and country of birth was explored using ordinal logistic regression assuming proportional odds.

Results:

The total physical activity differed significantly between the countries of birth (P < .001). Women from Finland had significant higher odds and women from Iraq had significantly lower odds for reporting higher levels of physical activity, compared with Swedish-born women.

Conclusions:

The direction of the associations between self-reported total health-enhancing physical activity varied by country of birth, which underlines the need to examine physical activity in each minority group separately.