Prevalence and correlates of exercise among older adults
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (U.S.)
Home Care Services
A secondary analysis of data from the 1990 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Supplement to the National Health Interview Survey was conducted to estimate the prevalence of exercise among adults aged 55 and older and identify correlates of exercise in this population. Walking and participation in other exercises were the exercise variables, and the explanatory variables included sociodemographic measures, self-reported health status and medical conditions, and health belief measures. For both exercise measures, physical activity declined with advanced age. Age, gender, education, and the health beliefs that smoking causes heart disease and cancer were the most important correlates of walking and playing sports. Additional interventions are needed to increase participation in regular walking, the most prevalent form of physical activity among older adults. In developing and testing these strategies, investigators should place emphasis on an approach that incorporates health education rather than simple prescriptive advice regarding regular exercise.