Research Study Abstract

Gender Differences Between Objectively and Subjectively Measured Physical Activity and Health in Elderly Individuals

  • Presented on July 3, 2014

Introduction: Recognizing the need to accurately measure physical activity in elderly individuals and its relation with health parameters, the aim this study was to explore the relationships between objectively and subjectively measured physical activity (PA) and health parameters related to cardiovascular health in both genders.

Materials and Methods: In a sample of 100 elderly adults, we recorded the concentration of serum liquids, calculated the Framingham risk score, and assessed their PA by objective (ActiGraph GT3X accelerometers). Data were analyzed by Pearson’s partial correlation coefficient using age as a covariate.

Results: Comparing the blood parameters and objectively measured PA, there were positive (p<0.05) correlations between counts per minute or moderate-vigorous PA (MVPA) and HDL cholesterol in women. In men, there were no statistically significant correlations. Total cholesterol in women was negatively associated with both light PA and lifestyle PA (p<0.05). The Framingham risk scores were negatively related to MVPA in women. To summarize, when PA results were higher, our analysis suggested that cardiovascular risk was lower, especially in women. When we analyzed the relation between subjectively measured PA and health parameters, correlations were not as strong as in the case of objectively measured PA. In men, the vigorous and summary indices were negatively correlated with total cholesterol (p<0.05), triglycerides (p<0.05) and LDL cholesterol (p<0.05); and the leisurely walk index with total cholesterol (p<0/05). There were no significant correlations between subjective measures PA and measured health parameters in women.

Discussion: Few published studies have assessed PA with both objective and subjective methods. In addition, most have been carried out in adult populations across a broad range of ages and without differentiating by gender (Celis Morales et al., 2012; Sun et al., 2013). Objectively measured PA correlated better with health parameters in women. However, these parameters are related to subjective PA in men. Accelerometers may be more accurate for detecting some “invisible activities” in women. However, questionnaires could detect certain activities, undetected by accelerometers, which are performed mainly by men. It may be useful to combine these tools to assess PA in older adults more accurately (Miller et al., 2006).

References: Celis-Morales, C.A., et al. (2012), PloS One, 7(5), e36345. Miller, R., et al. (2006). JPAH, 3: 257-66. Sun, F., et al. (2013). BMC Public Health, 13: 449.