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Health status and socioeconomic factors as determinants of physical activity level in the elderly.

Susana K. Papadopoulou, Sophia D. Papadopoulou, Antigoni Zerva, George Paraskevas, Anastasios Dalkiranis, Ioannis Ioannou, Anna Fahantidou

Med Sci Monit 2003; 9(2): CR79-83

ID: 4757


BACKGROUND: The aim of our study was to assess the health status and Physical Activity Level (PAL) of the elderly population and determine the role of health status and socioeconomic factors in PAL. MATERIAL/METHODS: A total of 84 subjects (65 men and 19 women) participated in this study. These individuals were living independently, and attending rehabilitation centers for the elderly in Thessaloniki, Greece. The mean age of the subjects was 74.4 years (SD 7.9). Data was collected with a special questionnaire regarding health status and PAL, during individual interviews. RESULTS: The mean PAL value was 1.519, SD 0.115. Significant positive correlation was found between PAL and educational level (r=0.286, p<0.05). Regarding the relation of illnesses to PAL, one-way ANOVA indicated that individuals under treatment for heart arrhythmia and myocardial infarction, as well as those who had undergone a by-pass operation, had higher PAL values (1.659+/-0.0649, 1.551+/-0.093 and 1.613+/-0.0978, respectively) compared to those not suffering from any of these disorders (1.512+/-0.112, 1.515+/-0.118 and 1.508+/-0.112 respectively, p<0.05 for each comparison). Cancer affected PAL negatively. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, the elderly spent most of their time carrying out low-intensity activities and did not participate in leisure activities of high or moderate intensity. Educational level was the only socio-economic factor that was correlated to PAL. The positive effect of certain disorders on PAL might be attributed to patients' compliance with physicians' instructions. Further research is necessary.

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