A prospective investigation of neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation and physical activity and sedentary behavior in older adults

Prev Med. 2018 Jun;111:14-20. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2018.02.011. Epub 2018 Feb 15.


Neighborhood conditions may have an important impact on physical activity and sedentary behaviors in the older population. Most previous studies in this area are cross-sectional and report mixed findings regarding the effects of neighborhood environment on different types of physical activity. Moreover, little is known about the prospective relationship between neighborhood environment and sedentary behaviors. Our analysis included 136,526 participants from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study (age 51-70). Neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation was measured with an index based on census variables and developed using principal component analysis. Physical activity and sedentary behaviors were measured both at baseline (1995-1996) and follow-up (2004-2006). Multiple regression analyses were conducted to examine the prospective relationship between neighborhood deprivation and exercise, non-exercise physical activity, and sedentary behaviors, adjusting for baseline physical activity and sedentary behaviors as well as potential confounders. We found that more severe neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation was prospectively associated with reduced time for exercise (β Q5 vs Q1 (95% confidence interval), hour, -0.85 (-0.95, -0.75)) but increased time spent in non-exercise physical activities (1.16 (0.97, 1.34)), such as household activities, outdoor chores, and walking for transportation. Moreover, people from more deprived neighborhoods were also more likely to engage in prolonged (≥5 h/day) TV viewing (Odds ratio Q5 vs Q1 (95% confidence interval), 1.21 (1.15, 1.27)). In conclusion, neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation is associated with physical activity and sedentary behavior in the older population. These associations may differ for different types of physical activities.

Keywords: Aging; Health disparities; Neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation; Physical activity; Sedentary behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Socioeconomic Factors*