Gender Differences in Trajectories of Physical Activity Among Older Americans With Diabetes

J Aging Health. 2016 Apr;28(3):460-80. doi: 10.1177/0898264315594136. Epub 2015 Jul 17.


Objective: The primary objective of this study was to examine gender differences in engagement in physical activity over time among older U.S. adults with diabetes.

Method: Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, we investigated physical activity between 2004 and 2010 among 1,857 adults aged 65 years and above with diabetes.

Results: Less than half of adults were physically active at baseline. The probability of physical activity declined over the 6-year period, with no significant gender variation in the effect of time. Because the odds of physical activity were lower for women at baseline and the effect of time did not vary by gender, the trajectory of physical activity was less favorable for women than men.

Discussion: The women in this cohort of older Americans started and remained less active than their male counterparts. Investigations covering a larger portion of the life course and those examining the impact of life events and transitions on physical activity among adults with diabetes are needed.

Keywords: diabetes; gender; health behavior; longitudinal; physical activity; trajectories.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity*
  • Sex Factors
  • United States