The link between physical activity (PA) and prevention of disease, maintenance of independence, and improved quality of life in older adults is supported by strong evidence. However, there is a lack of data on population levels in this regard, where PA level has been measured objectively. The main aims were therefore to assess the level of accelerometer-determined PA and to examine its associations with self-reported health in a population of Norwegian older adults (65-85 years).
This was a part of a national multicenter study. Participants for the initial study were randomly selected from the national population registry, and the current study included those of the initial sample aged 65-85 years. The ActiGraph GT1M accelerometer was used to measure PA for seven consecutive days. A questionnaire was used to register self-reported health. Univariate analysis of variance with Bonferroni adjustments were used for comparisons between multiple groups.
A total of 560 participants had valid activity registrations. Mean age (SD) was 71.8 (5.6) years for women (n=282) and 71.7 (5.2) years for men (n=278). Overall PA level (cpm) differed considerably between the age groups where the oldest (80-85 y) displayed a 50% lower activity level compared to the youngest (65-70 y). No sex differences were observed in overall PA within each age group. Significantly more men spent time being sedentary (65-69 and 70-74 years) and achieved more minutes of moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA) (75-79 years) compared to women. Significantly more women (except for the oldest), spent more minutes of low-intensity PA compared to men. PA differed across levels of self-reported health and a 51% higher overall PA level was registered in those, with "very good health" compared to those with "poor/very poor health".
Norwegian older adults PA levels differed by age. Overall, the elderly spent 66% of their time being sedentary and only 3% in MVPA. Twenty one percent of the participants fulfilled the current Norwegian PA recommendations. Overall PA levels were associated with self-reported health.