Physical activity is inversely associated with multimorbidity in elderly men: results from the KORA-Age Augsburg Study

Prev Med. 2013 Jul;57(1):17-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.02.014. Epub 2013 Feb 26.


Objective: Physical activity is suggested to play a key role in the prevention of several chronic diseases. However, data on the association between physical activity and multimorbidity are lacking.

Methods: Using data from 1007 men and women aged 65-94 years who participated in the population-based KORA (Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg)-Age project conducted in Augsburg/Germany and two adjacent counties in 2008/09, 13 chronic conditions were identified, and physical activity scores were calculated based on the self-reported physical activity scale for the elderly (PASE). Multivariable sex-specific logistic regression was applied to determine the association of the continuous physical activity score with multimorbidity (≥ 2 out of 13 diseases).

Results: Physical activity (mean PASE score±SD) was higher in men (125.1 ± 59.2) than in women (112.2 ± 49.2). Among men, the odds ratio (OR) for multimorbidity was 0.73 (95% CI: 0.60-0.90) for a 1 standard deviation increase of the PASE score. No significant results could be observed for women (OR: 1.05; 95% CI: 0.83-1.33).

Conclusion: We demonstrated an inverse association between physical activity and multimorbidity among men. Further prospective studies have to confirm the temporality of effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Chronic Disease / prevention & control*
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Self Report