Population aging increases the need for knowledge on positive aspects of aging, and contributions of older people to their own wellbeing and that of others. We defined active aging as an individual's striving for elements of wellbeing with activities as per their goals, abilities and opportunities. This study examines associations of health, health behaviors, health literacy and functional abilities, environmental and social support with active aging and wellbeing. We will develop and validate assessment methods for physical activity and physical resilience suitable for research on older people, and examine their associations with active aging and wellbeing. We will examine cohort effects on functional phenotypes underlying active aging and disability.
For this population-based study, we plan to recruit 1000 participants aged 75, 80 or 85 years living in central Finland, by drawing personal details from the population register. Participants are interviewed on active aging, wellbeing, disability, environmental and social support, mobility, health behavior and health literacy. Physical activity and heart rate are monitored for 7 days with wearable sensors. Functional tests include hearing, vision, muscle strength, reaction time, exercise tolerance, mobility, and cognitive performance. Clinical examination by a nurse and physician includes an electrocardiogram, tests of blood pressure, orthostatic regulation, arterial stiffness, and lung function, as well as a review of chronic and acute conditions and prescribed medications. C-reactive protein, small blood count, cholesterol and vitamin D are analyzed from blood samples. Associations of factors potentially underlying active aging and wellbeing will be studied using multivariate methods. Cohort effects will be studied by comparing test results of physical and cognitive functioning with results of a cohort examined in 1989-90.
The current study will renew research on positive gerontology through the novel approach to active aging and by suggesting new biomarkers of resilience and active aging. Therefore, high interdisciplinary impact is expected. This cross-sectional study will not provide knowledge on temporal order of events or causality, but an innovative cross-sectional dataset provides opportunities for emergence of novel creative hypotheses and theories.
To profile participants based on reported outdoor physical activity barriers using a data-driven approach, describe the profiles and study their association with unmet physical activity need.
Cross-sectional analyses of 848 community-dwelling men and women aged 75-90 living in Central Finland in 2012. Barriers to outdoor physical activity and unmet physical activity need were enquired with a questionnaire. The latent profiles were identified by profiling participants into latent groups using a mixture modeling technique on the multivariate set of indicators of outdoor physical activity barriers. A path model was used to study the associations of the profiles with unmet physical activity need.
Five barrier profiles were identified. Profile A was characterized with minor barriers, profile B with weather barriers, profile C with health and weather barriers, profile D with barriers concerning insecurity, health and weather; and profile E with mobility and health barriers. The participants in the profiles differed in the proportion of individual and environmental barriers. The risk for unmet physical activity need was highest among people whose severe mobility difficulties restricted their outdoor physical activity.
Outdoor physical activity barriers reflect the imbalance in person-environment fit among older people, manifested as unmet physical activity need.
In older adults, mobility limitations often coexist with overweight or obesity, suggesting that similar factors may underlie both traits. This study examined the extent to which genetic and environmental influences explain the association between adiposity and mobility in older women. Body fat percentage (bioimpedance test), walking speed over 10 m, and distance walked in a 6-min test were evaluated in 92 monozygotic (MZ) and 104 dizygotic (DZ) pairs of twin sisters reared together, aged 63-76 years. Genetic and environmental influences on each trait were estimated using age-adjusted multivariate genetic modeling. The analyses showed that the means (and s.d.) for body fat percentage, walking speed, and walking endurance were 33.2+/-7.3%, 1.7+/-0.3 m/s and 529.7+/-75.4 m, respectively. The phenotypic correlation between adiposity and walking speed was -0.32 and between adiposity and endurance it was -0.33. Genetic influences explained 80% of the association between adiposity and speed, and 65% of adiposity and walking endurance. Cross-trait genetic influences accounted for 12% of the variability in adiposity, 56% in walking speed, and 34% in endurance. Trait-specific genetic influences were also detected for adiposity (54%) and walking endurance (13%), but not speed. In conclusion, among community-living older women, an inverse association was found between adiposity and mobility that was mostly due to the effect of shared genes. This result suggests that the identification of genetic variants for body fat metabolism may also provide understanding of the development of mobility limitations in older women.
Exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) during prenatal and postnatal life has been extensively studied in relation to adverse health effects in children.
The aim was to identify determinants of the concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), brominated flame retardants (polybrominated diphenyl ethers, PBDEs; polybrominated biphenyl, PBB), and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in blood samples from pregnant women and children in The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa).
Blood samples were collected from two independent subsamples within MoBa; a group of women (n=96) enrolled in mid-pregnancy during the years 2002-2008 and a group of 3 year old children (n=99) participating during 2010-2011. PCB congeners (74, 99, 138, 153, 180, 170, 194, 209, 105, 114, 118, 156, 157, 167, and 189), brominated flame retardants (PBDE-28, 47, 99, 100, 153, 154, and PBB-153), as well as the OCPs hexachlorobenzene (HCB), oxychlordane, 4,4'dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), and 4,4'dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) were measured in both pregnant women and children.
Age, low parity, and low pre-pregnant BMI were the most important determinants of increased plasma concentrations of POPs in pregnant women. In 3 year old children, prolonged breastfeeding duration was a major determinant of increased POP concentrations. Estimated dietary exposure to PCBs during pregnancy was positively associated with plasma concentrations in 3 year old children, but not in pregnant women. Plasma concentrations were approximately 40% higher in children compared to pregnant women.
Several factors associated with exposure and toxicokinetics, i.e. accumulation, excretion and transfer via breastmilk of POPs were the main predictors of POP levels in pregnant women and children. Diet, which is the main exposure source for these compounds in the general population, was found to predict PCB levels only among children. For the PBDEs, for which non-dietary sources are more important, toxicokinetic factors appeared to have less predictive impact.
Acrylamide has shown developmental and reproductive toxicity in animals, as well as neurotoxic effects in humans with occupational exposures. Because it is widespread in food and can pass through the human placenta, concerns have been raised about potential developmental effects of dietary exposures in humans.
We assessed associations of prenatal exposure to dietary acrylamide with small for gestational age (SGA) and birth weight.
This study included 50,651 women in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa). Acrylamide exposure assessment was based on intake estimates obtained from a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ), which were compared with hemoglobin (Hb) adduct measurements reflecting acrylamide exposure in a subset of samples (n = 79). Data on infant birth weight and gestational age were obtained from the Medical Birth Registry of Norway. Multivariable regression was used to estimate associations between prenatal acrylamide and birth outcomes.
Acrylamide intake during pregnancy was negatively associated with fetal growth. When women in the highest quartile of acrylamide intake were compared with women in the lowest quartile, the multivariable-adjusted odds ratio (OR) for SGA was 1.11 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.21) and the coefficient for birth weight was -25.7 g (95% CI: -35.9, -15.4). Results were similar after excluding mothers who smoked during pregnancy. Maternal acrylamide- and glycidamide-Hb adduct levels were correlated with estimated dietary acrylamide intakes (Spearman correlations = 0.24; 95% CI: 0.02, 0.44; and 0.48; 95% CI: 0.29, 0.63, respectively).
Lowering dietary acrylamide intake during pregnancy may improve fetal growth.
Cites: Scand J Work Environ Health. 2001 Aug;27(4):219-2611560335
Maternal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) during pregnancy has been associated with reduced fetal growth. However, the role of diet, the main source of PAH exposure among non-smokers, remains uncertain.
To assess associations between maternal exposure to dietary intake of the genotoxic PAH benzo(a)pyrene [B(a)P] during pregnancy and birth weight, exploring potential effect modification by dietary intakes of vitamins C, E and A, hypothesized to influence PAH metabolism.
This study included 50,651 women in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa). Dietary B(a)P and nutrient intakes were estimated based on total consumption obtained from a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and estimated based on food composition data. Data on infant birth weight were obtained from the Medical Birth Registry of Norway (MBRN). Multivariate regression was used to assess associations between dietary B(a)P and birth weight, evaluating potential interactions with candidate nutrients.
The multivariate-adjusted coefficient (95%CI) for birth weight associated with maternal energy-adjusted B(a)P intake was -20.5g (-31.1, -10.0) in women in the third compared with the first tertile of B(a)P intake. Results were similar after excluding smokers. Significant interactions were found between elevated intakes of vitamin C (>85mg/day) and dietary B(a)P during pregnancy for birth weight (P
Exposure to dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) during pregnancy and breastfeeding may result in adverse health effects in children. Prenatal exposure is determined by the concentrations of dioxins and PCBs in maternal blood, which reflect the body burden obtained by long term dietary exposure. The aims of this study were (1) to describe dietary exposure and important dietary sources to dioxins and PCBs in a large group of pregnant women and (2) to identify maternal characteristics associated with high dietary exposure to dioxins and PCBs. Dietary exposure to dioxins (sum of toxic equivalents (TEQs) from dioxin-like (dl) compounds) and PCB-153 in 83,524 pregnant women (gestational weeks 17-22) who participated in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) during the years 2002-2009 was calculated based on a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and a database of dioxin and PCB concentrations in Norwegian food. The median (interquartile range, IQR) intake of PCB-153 (marker of ndl-PCBs) was 0.81 (0.77) ng/kg bw/day. For dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs, the median (IQR) intake was 0.56 (0.37) pg TEQ/kg bw/day. Moreover, 2.3% of the participants had intakes exceeding the tolerable weekly intake (TWI) of 14pg TEQ/kg bw/week. Multiple regression analysis showed that dietary exposure was positively associated with maternal age, maternal education, weight gain during pregnancy, being a student, and alcohol consumption during pregnancy and negatively associated with pre-pregnancy BMI and smoking. A high dietary exposure to PCB-153 or dl-compounds (TEQ) was mainly explained by the consumption of seagull eggs and/or pate with fish liver and roe. Women who according to Norwegian recommendations avoid these food items generally do not have dietary exposure above the tolerable intake of dioxins and dl-PCBs.
The aim of this study was to analyze whether the associations between perceived environmental and individual characteristics and perceived walking limitations in older people differ between those with intact and those with poorer lower extremity performance.
Persons aged 75 to 90 ( N = 834) participated in interviews and performance tests in their homes. Standard questionnaires were used to obtain walking difficulties; environmental barriers to and, facilitators of, mobility; and perceived individual hindrances to outdoor mobility. Lower extremity performance was tested using Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB).
Among those with poorer lower extremity performance, the likelihood for advanced walking limitations was, in particular, related to perceived poor safety in the environment, and among those with intact performance to perceived social issues, such as lack of company, as well as to long distances.
The environmental correlates of walking limitations seem to depend on the level of lower extremity performance.
There has been a thrilling development , as well as profound changes, in our understanding of the effect of fetal nutrition on the development and health of the child. The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) is an ongoing nationwide population-based pregnancy cohort study that between 1999 and 2008 recruited 90,723 women with 106,981 pregnancies and 108,487 children. The objective of MoBa is to test specific etiologic hypotheses by estimating the association between exposures and diseases with a special focus on disorders that may originate in early life. An important aspect in this regard is maternal diet and nutritional status during pregnancy. Nutritional factors have long been considered to be important determinants of maternal and fetal health, and dietary information is currently being collected in a number of pregnancy cohorts in Europe and the United States. Thus far, pregnancy complications studied in MoBa are preterm birth, preeclampsia, and fetal growth; and the aim of this article is to report results of recently published studies of dietary factors in relation to these outcomes. Numerous studies are planned using MoBa data, and the aim is to add to the knowledge of the interplay between dietary factors, nonnutrients, and toxic dietary substances and epigenetic modulation on fetal development and health later in life.
Environmental barriers are associated with disability-related outcomes in older people but little is known of the effect of environmental barriers on mortality. The aim of this study was to examine whether objectively measured barriers in the outdoor, entrance and indoor environments are associated with mortality among community-dwelling 80- to 89-year-old single-living people.
This longitudinal study is based on a sample of 397 people who were single-living in ordinary housing in Sweden. Participants were interviewed during 2002-2003, and 393 were followed up for mortality until May 15, 2012.Environmental barriers and functional limitations were assessed with the Housing Enabler instrument, which is intended for objective assessments of Person-Environment (P-E) fit problems in housing and the immediate outdoor environment. Mortality data were gathered from the public national register. Cox regression models were used for the analyses.
A total of 264 (67%) participants died during follow-up. Functional limitations increased mortality risk. Among the specific environmental barriers that generate the most P-E fit problems, lack of handrails in stairs at entrances was associated with the highest mortality risk (adjusted RR 1.55, 95% CI 1.14-2.10), whereas the total number of environmental barriers at entrances and outdoors was not associated with mortality. A higher number of environmental barriers indoors showed a slight protective effect against mortality even after adjustment for functional limitations (RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.96-1.00).
Specific environmental problems may increase mortality risk among very-old single-living people. However, the association may be confounded by individuals' health status which is difficult to fully control for. Further studies are called for.
OBJECTIVE: Few biomarkers for dietary intake of various food groups have been established. The aim of the present study was to explore whether selenium (Se), iodine, mercury (Hg) or arsenic may serve as a biomarker for total fish and seafood intake in addition to the traditionally used n-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. DESIGN: Intake of fish and seafood estimated by an FFQ was compared with intake assessed by a 4 d weighed food diary and with biomarkers in blood and urine. SETTING: Validation study in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa). SUBJECTS: One hundred and nineteen women. RESULTS: Total fish/seafood intake (median 39 g/d) calculated with the MoBa FFQ was comparable to intake calculated by the food diary (median 30 g/d, rS = 0.37, P
RefSource: Public Health Nutr. 2009 Dec;12(12):2536-7
To study which individual characteristics and environmental factors correlate with fear of moving outdoors and whether fear of moving outdoors predicts development of mobility limitation.
Observational prospective cohort study and cross-sectional analyses.
Community and research center.
Seven hundred twenty-seven community-living people aged 75 to 81 were interviewed at baseline, of whom 314 took part in a 3.5-year follow-up.
Fear of moving outdoors and its potential individual and environmental correlates were assessed at baseline. Perceived difficulties in walking 0.5 km and 2 km were assessed twice a year over a 3.5-year period.
At baseline, 65% of the women and 29% of the men reported fear of moving outdoors. Poor socioeconomic status; musculoskeletal diseases; slow walking speed; and the presence of poor street conditions, hills in the nearby environment, and noisy traffic correlated with fear of moving outdoors. At the first 6-month follow-up, participants with fear of moving outdoors had more than four times the adjusted risk (odds ratio (OR)=4.6, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.92-11.00) of developing difficulties in walking 0.5 km and a three times greater adjusted risk (OR=3.10, 95% CI=1.49-6.46) for developing difficulty in walking 2 km compared with those without fear. The difference in the prevalence of walking difficulties remained statistically significant over the 3.5-year follow-up (P=.02 and P=.009, respectively).
Fear of moving outdoors is common in older adults and increases the risk of developing self-reported difficulties in walking 0.5 km and 2 km. Knowledge about individual and environmental factors underlying fear of moving outdoors and finding ways to alleviate fear of moving outdoors are important for community planning and prevention of disability.
Fish liver, fish liver oil, oily fish and seagull eggs have been major sources of vitamin D for the coastal population of Norway. They also provide dioxin and polychlorinated dioxin-like compounds (dl-compounds), which may interfere with vitamin D homeostasis. We investigated whether serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) might be compromised by concomitant intake of dl-compounds.
We studied 182 adults participating in the Norwegian Fish and Game Study. Participants who consumed fish liver and/or seagull eggs had higher dl-compound intake and blood concentrations than non-consumers (p
The aim of the present study was to examine the contribution of genetic and environmental factors to depressive symptoms among older women. The participants were 102 monozygotic and 115 dizygotic female twin pairs aged 64 to 76 years. Depressive symptoms were assessed by the Center for the Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. The contribution of genetic and environmental effects was estimated for the constructed depressiveness factor and for the subscales which were depressed mood, psychomotor retardation, lack of wellbeing and interpersonal difficulties. Of the variance in depressiveness, shared environmental influences accounted for 39% and nonshared environmental influences 61%. For the subscales, 24% to 62% of the variance was explained by individual, and 13% to 23% by shared, environmental factors. Lack of wellbeing had its own moderate additive genetic effect explaining 30% of the variance. This study showed that in older women predominantly environmental factors underlay individual differences in depressiveness; however, the factors varied to some extent between dimensions measured by the subscales.
The purpose of the present study was to examine the relative contribution of genetic and environmental effects on the air-conducted hearing threshold levels at low (0.125-0.5 kHz), mid (1-2 kHz), and high (4-8 kHz) frequencies separately for the better and worse hearing ear in older women. We also examined the distribution of audiogram configurations. Data was analysed using quantitative genetic modelling. As part of the Finnish twin study on aging (FITSA), hearing was measured in 103 monozygotic and 114 dizygotic female twin pairs aged 63-76 years. Approximately every third subject had a flat type, and two-thirds a descending type of audiogram configuration. No significant difference was observed in the distribution of audiogram configurations between zygosity groups. In the better ear, additive genetic effects accounted for 64%-74% of the total variance at different frequencies. For the worse ear, environmental effects were larger. Although overall heritability is rather constant across the frequency spectrum, it is noteworthy that at low and high frequencies frequency-specific genetic and environmental effects together accounted for the majority of the total variance.
Previous studies in young and middle-aged men and women have shown that resting electrocardiographic (ECG) variables are influenced by genetic factors. However, the extent to which resting ECG variables are influenced by genetic factors in older women is unknown. Thus, the aim of this study was to estimate the relative contribution of genetic and environmental influences to individual differences in resting ECG variables among older female twins without overt cardiac diseases.
Resting ECG recordings were obtained from 186 monozygotic and 203 dizygotic twin individuals, aged 63-76 years. Quantitative genetic modeling was used to decompose the phenotypic variance in each resting ECG variable into additive genetic, dominance genetic, shared environmental, and unique environmental influences.
The results showed that individual differences in the majority of the resting ECG variables were moderately to highly explained by additive genetic influences, ranging from 32% for T axis to 72% for TV(5). The results also suggested dominance genetic influences on QRS duration, TV(1), and Sokolow-Lyon voltage (36%, 53%, and 57%, respectively). Unique environmental influences were important for each resting ECG variable, whereas shared environmental influences were detected only for QT interval and QTc.
In older women without overt cardiac diseases, genetic influences explain a moderate to high proportion of individual differences in the majority of the resting ECG variables. Genetic influences are especially strong for T-wave amplitudes, left ventricular mass, and hypertrophy indices, whereas other variables, including heart rate, intervals, and axes, are more affected by environmental influences.
To examine the genetic and environmental sources of variation in self-rated health (SRH) in older female twins and to explore the roles of morbidity, functional limitation, and psychological well-being as mediators of genetic and environmental effects on SRH.
Cross-sectional analysis of twin data.
One hundred two monozygotic and 115 dizygotic female twin pairs aged 63 to 76.
SRH was categorized as good, average, or poor. Morbidity was described using a physician-assessed disease-severity scale together with information about the presence of diabetes mellitus and cancer. Maximal walking speed measured over 10 m was used to assess physical functional limitation; the Mini-Mental State Examination and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale were used to characterize psychological well-being. The contributions of genetic and environmental (defined as familial (shared by siblings) or nonshared (unique to each sibling)) effects were assessed using univariate and multivariate structural equation modeling of twin data.
SRH did not have its own specific genetic effect but shared a genetic component in common with the genetic components underlying liability to disease severity, maximal walking speed, and depressive symptoms. It accounted for 64% of the variation in SRH, with environmental effects accounting for the remaining variation.
The current results suggest that there are no specific genetic effects on SRH but rather that genetic influences on SRH are mediated through genetic influences affecting chronic diseases, functional limitation, and mood.
The purpose of the present study was to examine, first, whether hearing acuity predicts falls and whether the potential association is explained by postural balance and, second, to examine whether shared genetic or environmental effects underlie these associations.
Hearing was measured using a clinical audiometer as a part of the Finnish Twin Study on Aging in 103 monozygotic and 114 dizygotic female twin pairs aged 63-76 years. Postural balance was indicated as a center of pressure (COP) movement in semi-tandem stance, and participants filled in a fall-calendar daily for an average of 345 days after the baseline.
Mean hearing acuity (better ear hearing threshold level at 0.5-4 kHz) was 21 dB (standard deviation [SD] 12). Means of the COP velocity moment for the best to the poorest hearing quartiles increased linearly from 40.7 mm(2)/s (SD 24.4) to 52.8 mm(2)/s (SD 32.0) (p value for the trend = .003). Altogether 199 participants reported 437 falls. Age-adjusted incidence rate ratios (IRRs) for falls, with the best hearing quartile as a reference, were 1.2 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.4-3.8) in the second, 4.1 (95% CI = 1.1-15.6) in the third, and 3.4 (95% CI = 1.0-11.4) in the poorest hearing quartiles. Adjustment for COP velocity moment decreased IRRs markedly. Twin analyses showed that the association between hearing acuity and postural balance was not explained by genetic factors in common for these traits.
People with poor hearing acuity have a higher risk for falls, which is partially explained by their poorer postural control. Auditory information about environment may be important for safe mobility.
Cites: Am J Otolaryngol. 1999 Nov-Dec;20(6):371-810609481
Cites: J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2008 Feb;63(2):171-818314453
A crucial issue for the sustainability of societies is how to maintain health and functioning in older people. With increasing age, losses in vision, hearing, balance, mobility and cognitive capacity render older people particularly exposed to environmental barriers. A central building block of human functioning is walking. Walking difficulties may start to develop in midlife and become increasingly prevalent with age. Life-space mobility reflects actual mobility performance by taking into account the balance between older adults internal physiologic capacity and the external challenges they encounter in daily life. The aim of the Life-Space Mobility in Old Age (LISPE) project is to examine how home and neighborhood characteristics influence people's health, functioning, disability, quality of life and life-space mobility in the context of aging. In addition, examine whether a person's health and function influence life-space mobility.
This paper describes the study protocol of the LISPE project, which is a 2-year prospective cohort study of community-dwelling older people aged 75 to 90 (n?=?848). The data consists of a baseline survey including face-to-face interviews, objective observation of the home environment and a physical performance test in the participant's home. All the baseline participants will be interviewed over the phone one and two years after baseline to collect data on life-space mobility, disability and participation restriction. Additional home interviews and environmental evaluations will be conducted for those who relocate during the study period. Data on mortality and health service use will be collected from national registers. In a substudy on walking activity and life space, 358 participants kept a 7-day diary and, in addition, 176 participants also wore an accelerometer.
Our study, which includes extensive data collection with a large sample, provides a unique opportunity to study topics of importance for aging societies. A novel approach is employed which enables us to study the interactions of environmental features and individual characteristics underlying the life-space of older people. Potentially, the results of this study will contribute to improvements in strategies to postpone or prevent progression to disability and loss of independence.
Cites: Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2001 Feb;82(2):210-611239312
To study the association between maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy and the child's weight gain and overweight risk up to 8 years.
Prospective nationwide pregnancy cohort.
The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study.
A total of 50?943 mothers recruited from 2002 to 2008 and their children, after singleton pregnancies, with information about average caffeine intake assessed at mid-pregnancy.
Child's body size information at 11 age points from 6 weeks to 8 years. We defined excess growth in infancy as a WHO weight gain z-score of >0.67 from birth to age 1?year, and overweight according to the International Obesity Task Force. We used a growth model to assess individual growth trajectories.
Compared with pregnant women with low caffeine intake (200?mg/day had consistently higher weight. Very high caffeine exposures were associated with higher weight gain velocity from infancy to age 8 years.
Any caffeine consumption during pregnancy is associated with a higher risk of excess infant growth and of childhood overweight, mainly at preschool ages. Maternal caffeine intake may modify the overall weight growth trajectory of the child from birth to 8 years. This study adds supporting evidence for the current advice to reduce caffeine intake during pregnancy.