Physical activity in U.S. older adults with diabetes mellitus: prevalence and correlates of meeting physical activity recommendations

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2011 Jan;59(1):132-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.03236.x.


Objectives: To compare the prevalence and correlates of meeting current recommendations for physical activity in older adults with and without diabetes mellitus (DM) in the United States.

Design: A cross-sectional, population-based sample.

Setting: The 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, which employs random-digit dialing to interview noninstitutionalized U.S. adults.

Participants: Ninety-nine thousand one hundred seventy-two adults (18,370 with DM) aged 65 and older.

Measurements: The age-adjusted prevalence and the odds ratios for physical activity patterns (defined on the basis of the physical activity guidelines from the American Diabetes Association (ADA 2007) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS 2008)) were obtained using multiple logistic regression analyses. The correlates of meeting physical activity recommendations were assessed using log-binomial regression analyses.

Results: Overall, 25% and 42% of older adults with diabetes mellitus met recommendations for total physical activity based on the ADA 2007 and the DHHS 2008 guidelines, respectively. Adults with DM were 31% to 34% (P < .001) less likely to engage in physical activity at recommended levels and 13% to 19% (P < .001) less likely to be physically active at insufficient levels than those without DM. Analyses limited to participants who reported no disability yielded similar results. In adults with DM, older age (≥ 75); being female; being non-Hispanic black; and having obesity, coronary heart disease, and disability were associated with less likelihood, whereas advanced educational status was associated with greater likelihood of meeting physical activity recommendations.

Conclusion: In the United States, efforts to boost physical activity participation in older adults with DM are needed.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / rehabilitation*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Patient Compliance* / ethnology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States