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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Boston, Massachusetts » Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #355883

Research Project: Sarcopenia, Nutrition, and Physical Activity

Location: Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging

Title: Accelerometer assessment of physical activity and its association with physical function in older adults residing at assisted care facilities

Author
item Corcoran, Michael - Tufts University
item Chui, Kenneth - Tufts University
item White, Daniel - Boston University
item Reid, Kieran - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item Kirn, Dylan - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item Nelson, Miriam - Tufts University
item Sacheck, Jennifer - Tufts University
item Folta, Sara - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item Fielding, Roger - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University

Submitted to: Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/9/2015
Publication Date: 12/18/2015
Citation: Corcoran, M.P., Chui, K.K., White, D.K., Reid, K.F., Kirn, D., Nelson, M., Sacheck, J., Folta, S., Fielding, R.A. 2015. Accelerometer assessment of physical activity and its association with physical function in older adults residing at assisted care facilities. Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging. 20(7):752-758.

Interpretive Summary: This study described the levels of physical activity among older adults residing at assisted care facilities and how these were related to physical functioning. We studied 65 older adults aged 65 years and older living in assisted care facilities. Measures included physical activity measured using a device worn on the subject's waist and a composite measure of physical functioning (Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) Score), walking speed, and handgrip strength. Participants in the most active group engaged in 25 minutes/week of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and walked 2,150 steps/day. The most active older adults in this study exhibited clinically significant differences in physical function relative to their less active peers. These findings suggest a strong association between participation in physical activity and physical function among older adults living in assisted care facilities.

Technical Abstract: Objectives: To describe levels of physical activity among older adults residing at assisted care facilities and their association with physical function. Design: Cross-sectional analysis. Setting: Assisted care facilities within the greater Boston, MA area. Participants: Older adults aged 65 years and older (N = 65). Measurements: Physical Activity Level (PAL) as defined by quartiles from accelerometry (counts and steps), Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) Score, gait speed, and handgrip strength. Results: Participants in the most active accelerometry quartile engaged in 25 minutes/week of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and walked 2,150 steps/day. These individuals had an SPPB score, 400 meter walk speed, and handgrip strength that was 3.7-3.9 points, 0.3-0.4 meters/second, and 4.5-5.1 kg greater respectively, than individuals in the lowest activity quartile, who engaged in less than 5 min/wk of MVPA or took fewer than 460 steps/day. Conclusion: Despite engaging in physical activity levels far below current recommendations (150 min/week of MVPA or > 7000 steps/day), the most active older adults in this study exhibited clinically significant differences in physical function relative to their less active peers. While the direction of causality cannot be determined from this cross-sectional study, these findings suggest a strong association between PAL and physical function among older adults residing in an assisted care facility.