Background: Little is known about the distribution of activity over the full 24-hour spectrum in late old age and its association with demographic and health factors. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the distribution of physical activity (PA), sedentary behavior, and sleep, and associated factors in the elderly population.
Methods: Our study included 1210 participants (51.9% women) aged 70-94 years [mean age 77.5 years, standard deviation (SD) 5.0] from the population-based Rotterdam Study. Participants wore a triaxial accelerometer (GENEActiv) around the wrist for 7 days between July 2014 and June 2016. We examined if PA, sedentary behavior, and sleep differed by age, sex, body mass index (BMI), smoking status, alcohol consumption, education, season, functional capacity, marital status, presence of chronic disease, and use of sleep medication.
Results: Mean total PA, expressed in milli-gravity (mg) units, was slightly higher for women (20.3, SD 5.6) than for men (19.3, SD 5.2, P < .01). Mean (SD) daily duration spent in sedentary behavior and light and moderate-to-vigorous PA was 13.3 (1.5) h/d, 147.5 (31.5) min/d, and 75.0 (25.5) min/d, respectively, among women; and 13.8 (1.6) h/d, 140.5 (31.1) min/d, and 71.5 (24.5) min/d, respectively, among men. Women spent on average 6.7 (SD 1.1) h/d sleeping and men 6.6 (1.4) h/d. Across increasing categories of age and BMI and in participants with chronic disease and disability, time spent in light and moderate-to-vigorous PA was decreased. Higher age and BMI were associated with more sedentary time. In addition, obese men spent slightly more time sleeping than their normal weight counterparts and women spent slightly less time sleeping in the summer than in spring.
Conclusions: PA and sedentary behavior in the elderly differed by sex, age, BMI, prevalence of chronic disease, and disability, whereas there were no clear patterns for sleep. On average, our participants spent up to 79.5% of their time awake being sedentary and 7%-8% in moderate-to-vigorous PA. Replacing sedentary behavior with light PA would be a good starting point for those with the lowest level of PA. Older adults, those with high BMI and worse health could benefit from targeted interventions to increase PA.

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American Medical Directors Association. Journal: long-term care: management, applied research and clinical issues
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Koolhaas, C., van Rooij, F., Schoufour, J., Cepeda, M., Tiemeier, H., Brage, S., & Franco, O. (2017). Objective Measures of Activity in the Elderly. American Medical Directors Association. Journal: long-term care: management, applied research and clinical issues. doi:10.1016/j.jamda.2017.04.017