Current and past leisure time physical activity in relation to risk of Alzheimer's disease in older adults

Alzheimers Dement. 2019 Dec;15(12):1603-1611. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2019.07.013. Epub 2019 Oct 3.


Introduction: The associations between self-reported current and past leisure time physical activity (LTPA) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) incidence were determined using data from the multiethnic Washington/Hamilton Heights-Inwood Columbia Aging Project (WHICAP) study.

Methods: The metabolic equivalent of LTPA energy expenditure was calculated for self-reported current and past LTPA for 1345 older adults. A Cox proportional hazard model was conducted to estimate the association between LTPA (low, middle, and high) and incident AD risk.

Results: Comparing high to low level, current and past LTPA were both associated with reduced AD risk, with hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) = 0.39 (0.20-0.75) and 0.37 (0.18-0.75), respectively. Compared with "always low," "increased" and "always high" LTPA throughout life were associated with reduced AD risk, with hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) = 0.60 (0.36-0.99) and 0.28 (0.08-0.94), respectively. Light- and moderate-intensity LTPA were associated with lower AD risk.

Discussion: LTPA both throughout life and later in life are associated with lower risk of AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Dementia; Epidemiology; Longitudinal study; Physical activity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease* / epidemiology
  • Alzheimer Disease* / ethnology
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • New York City / ethnology
  • Self Report
  • Socioeconomic Factors