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, 57 (2), 121-136

Association of Health-Related Behaviors, Attitudes, and Appraisals to Leisure-Time Physical Activity in Middle-Aged and Older Women

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Association of Health-Related Behaviors, Attitudes, and Appraisals to Leisure-Time Physical Activity in Middle-Aged and Older Women

Carole K Holahan et al. Women Health.

Abstract

Physical activity carries immediate and long-term benefits for middle-aged and older women; however, physical activity decreases in adulthood and aging in women. In this study, the authors investigate the relation of health behaviors, health attitudes, and health appraisals to leisure-time physical activity among middle-aged and older women in a cross-sectional analysis of the second wave of the Study of Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS2) conducted during the period from 2004 to 2006. The sample consisted of 829 women, ranging in age from 40 to 75 years of age (Mean = 56 years). In multiple logistic regression analyses, controlling for socio-demographic factors and functional restrictions, most of the psychosocial variables examined showed unique associations with physical activity, including health behaviors of having a routine checkup and not smoking, health attitudes involving commitment to health and valuing physical fitness and strength, and the health appraisal that one's health is better compared to others of the same age. Older women (aged 61-75 years) were less active, but reported greater health commitment than middle-aged women (aged 40-60 years). Neither health commitment nor any other psychosocial variable interacted with age in relation to physical activity. Understanding characteristics of middle-aged and older women who are physically active is essential in tailoring interventions to this population.

Keywords: Age; behavior; physical activity; psychosocial; women.

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