PHYSICAL ACTIVITY PATTERNS AND MULTIMORBIDITY BURDEN OF OLDER ADULTS WITH DIFFERENT LEVELS OF FUNCTIONAL STATUS

Review written by Dr Mariana Wingood info

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Moderate to severe mobility limitations, such as difficulty ambulating or performing stairs, is associated with multimorbidity (defined as having two or more chronic diseases) and physical inactivity (defined as not performing 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA)) (1, 2). In order for clinicians to be able to intervene and break apart this association, we need a deeper understanding of this interlinked relationship. A deeper understanding is particularly important for our older adult population who have been identified as having a high prevalence of mobility limitations and multimorbidity, as well as being physically inactive (3-5). The researchers of this study agreed with this importance, resulting in their aim of describing the multimorbidity burden and accelerometer-assessed physical activity patterns of older adults.

METHODS

Data analyzed: Researchers used the results of the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES), a survey that combines interviews and physical exams to assess the health and nutritional status of US community-dwelling adults. Physical function classification: Using the NHANES self-reported data on physical function limitations, individuals were categorized into three mutually exclusive physical function groups:

  1. ADL disabled (ADL-D; defined as needing special equipment to walk or having difficulty with walking, standing up from an armless chair, getting in and out of bed, eating, dressing, reaching, or grasping)
  2. Activity limitations (AL; defined as having difficulty with the ADL’s listed in ADL-D)
  3. High physical functioning (HF; defined as having no difficulty with ADL’s listed in ADL-D)

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Objective measures of Physical Activity (PA): PA was measured using accelerometers which presented data in units of ‘activity counts/minute.’ Individuals were classified based on NHANES sedentary cut points: 0-99 counts/min=sedentary; 100-759 counts/min=light; 760-2019 counts/min=lifestyle; and > 2020 counts/min = MVPA. Multimorbidity: Individuals were classified as having multimorbidity’s if they stated that they had two or more of the following diagnosis’: arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension, pulmonary disease, osteoporosis, or stroke.

RESULTS

Differences in PA between the three function classifications: HF group were significantly younger, had lower BMI, and lower prevalence of multimorbidity compared to AL and ADL-D groups. They were also identified as having 30% more total activity counts and activity

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