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Physical activity level and physical functionality in nonagenarians compared to individuals aged 60-74 years


Frisard, MI and Fabre, JM and Russell, RD and King, CM and DeLany, JP and Wood, RH and Ravussin, E, for the Louisiana Healthy Aging Study, Physical activity level and physical functionality in nonagenarians compared to individuals aged 60-74 years, Journals of Gerontology. Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 62A, (7) pp. 783-788. ISSN 1079-5006 (2007) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2007 The Gerontological Society of America


BACKGROUND: Functional dependence and the risks of disability increase with age. The loss of independence is thought to be partially due to a decrease in physical activity. However, in populations, accurate measurement of physical activity is challenging and may not provide information on functional impairment.

METHODS: This study therefore assessed physical functionality and physical activity level in a group of nonagenarians (11 men/11 women; 93+/-1 years, 66.6+/-2.4 kg, body mass index [BMI]=24+/-1 kg/m2) and a group of participants aged 60-74 years (17 men/15 women; 70+/-1 years, 83.3+/-3.0 kg, BMI=29+/-1 kg/m2) from the Louisiana Healthy Aging Study. Physical activity level was calculated from total energy expenditure (TEE) and resting metabolic rate (RMR). Physical functionality was assessed using the Reduced Continuous Scale Physical Functional Performance Test (CS-PFP10).

RESULTS: Nonagenarians had lower absolute (p<.001) and adjusted (p<.007) TEE compared to participants aged 60-74 years which was attributed to a reduction in both RMR and physical activity level. Nonagenarians also had reduced functional performance (p<.001) which was correlated with activity level (r=0.68, p<.001).

CONCLUSIONS: When compared to individuals aged 60-74 years, 73% of the reduction in TEE in nonagenarians can be attributed to a reduction in physical activity level, the remaining being accounted for by a reduction in RMR. The reduced physical activity in nonagenarians is associated with less physical functionality. This study provides the first objective comparison of physical functionality and actual levels of physical activity in older individuals.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:physical function and aging
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Clinical sciences
Research Field:Geriatrics and gerontology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Russell, RD (Dr Ryan Russell)
ID Code:96011
Year Published:2007
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2014-10-15
Last Modified:2015-03-19

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