Low levels of physical activity are currently observed in all age groups around the world. Among older adults physical activity is even lower, potentially influencing quality of life, incidence of diseases and premature mortality. The aim of this study was to describe objectively measured physical activity levels among older adults residents in a Southern city of Brazil.
A population-based study was carried out including people aged 60+ years living in the urban area of Pelotas. Face-to-face interviews, anthropometric measures and triaxial accelerometry (non-dominant wrist) were used to collect sociodemographic, anthropometric and physical activity, respectively. For descriptive purposes, overall physical activity was expressed as daily averages of acceleration. Time spent in light physical activity (LPA) and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) using different bout criteria (non-bouted, and in 1-, 5- and 10-min bouts) were calculated. Crude and adjusted analyses were performed using simple linear regression to examine the association between physical activity and exposure variables.
Overall, 971 individuals provided valid accelerometry data. Women spent on average more time on LPA (136.2 vs. 127.6 min per day). Men and women respectively accumulated, in average, 64.5 and 56.7 min per day of non-bouted MVPA, while these daily averages were 14.9 and 9.46 min using 5-min, and 8.1 and 4.5 min using 10-min bout MVPA. In adjusted analyses, men aged 80 years or more spent in average 45 min less LPA per day when compared to men 60-69 years and, among women, this difference was 65 min. Considering time in 5-min MVPA bouts, the youngest age group and those with a better self-perceived health accumulated more MVPA. Specifically among men, socioeconomic status was inversely associated with 5-min bout MVPA.
The present study showed low levels of physical activity among Brazilian older adults, even lower in more advanced ages, and a different pattern for physical activity intensity between men and women.