Physical activity and its correlates among urban primary care patients aged 55 years or older

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Objectives. Physical inactivity is a leading cause of death and disability, but very little is known about physical activity and its determinants among socially disadvantaged and medically vulnerable adults. The purpose of this study was to assess physical activity and its correlates, including measures of physical activity knowledge, perceived barriers, and self-efficacy, among socioeconomically disadvantaged older adults. Methods. A stratified random sample of 1,088 patients aged 55 years or older was selected from an urban primary care center serving a predominantly low- income population of the 1,088 patients sampled, 771 (71%) completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Results. A physical activity instrument, developed specifically for the population being studied, showed an average of 65 minutes of physical activity per week. Scores on a true- false knowledge quiz were no better than expected by chance, and over two thirds reported symptom and perceived environmental barriers to physical activity. Lower self-efficacy and greater symptom and motivational barriers were found to be associated with less physical activity. Discussion. Given the prevalence of inactivity, knowledge deficits, and perceived barriers to physical activity, population-specific interventions may be required to improve rates of physical activity among socially disadvantaged and medically vulnerable adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S41-S48
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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