Background: It is not clear whether recent increases in life expectancy are accompanied by a concurrent postponement of activity limitations. The objective of this study was to give best estimates of the trend in the prevalence of activity limitations among the non-institutionalized population aged 55-84 years over the period 1990-2007 in The Netherlands. Methods: We examined self-reports on 12 measures of moderate or severe activity limitations in stair climbing, walking and getting dressed as assessed by OECD long-term disability questionnaire or Short Form-36 (SF-36) items, using original data from five population-based crosssectional and longitudinal surveys (n=54 847 respondents). To account for heterogeneity between surveys, we used meta-analyses to study time trends. Results: Time trends of 10 out of the 12 activity limitation variables studied were stable. The prevalence of at least moderate activity limitations in stair climbing [odds ratio (OR)=1.03)] and getting dressed (OR=1.04) based on OECD items increased over the study period. Age- and gender-stratified time trend analyses showed consistent patterns. Conclusions: No declines were observed in the prevalence of activity limitations in the Dutch older population over the period 1990-2007. The increase in life expectancy in this period is accompanied by a stable prevalence of most activity limitations. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Epidemiological Association

Activity limitation, Health transition, Meta-analysis,
International Journal of Epidemiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Gool, C.H, Picavet, H.S.J, Deeg, D.J.H, de Klerk, M.M.Y, Nusselder, W.J, van Boxtel, M.P.J, … Hoeymans, N. (2011). Trends in activity limitations: The Dutch older population between 1990 and 2007. International Journal of Epidemiology, 40(4), 1056–1067. doi:10.1093/ije/dyr009