Prevalence and correlates of physical inactivity in community-dwelling older adults in Ireland

Elaine Murtagh, Marie Murphy, Niamh Murphy, Catherine Woods, Alan Nevill, Aoife Lane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The public health challenges associated with rapid population ageing are likely to be exacerbatedby poor physical activity levels. The purpose of this study was to identify correlatesof physical inactivity in a population-representative sample of older adults in Ireland. Thispaper reports a secondary analysis of data from 4892 adults aged 60+ from the Irish LongitudinalStudy on Ageing (TILDA). TILDA includes an assessment of the mental and physicalhealth, and social and financial circumstances of participants assessed in a home interviewand self-completion questionnaire. Chi squared statistics and forced entry logistic regressionwere used to identify factors associated with physical inactivity. Females were overtwice as likely to be inactive as their male counterparts (Odds Ratio 2.2). Increasing old agewas associated with inactivity among males and females. Those who reported above secondarylevel education, no reported falls in the last year and no fear of falling were less likelyto be physically inactive. While older adults who noted poor/fair self-reported health, thatthey did not look after grandchildren, did not own a car or did not attend a course were alsomore likely to be inactive than those who reported positively for these items. Gender displayeda strong but often contrasting influence on factors that affect physical activity amongolder adults. Among females, living alone or in a rural area, retirement, fair/poor emotionalhealth and activity being limited by illness were all significantly associated with inactivity.While cohabiting, being employed and residing in an urban area were related to low levelsof activity in males. Our findings identify specific groups of the older Irish population whomay be at particular risk of physical inactivity and thereby the associated physiological andpsychological hazards. These results can support the development of tailored interventionsto promote healthy ageing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2015


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