Walking Activity and Physical Function Among Mexican American Older Adults Over 9 Years of Follow Up

Nicholas Tahmassi, Soham Al Snih

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Walking activity has been associated with reduction in the development of chronic disease, cognitive and physical function impairment, disability, and mortality. The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between walking activity and physical function over 9 years of follow-up among Mexican Americans aged 78 years and older. Methods: Participants (N = 998) were from the Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly (2007-2016). Measures included walking activity duration and frequency, socio-demographics, body mass index, medical conditions, pain, depressive symptoms, limitation in activities of daily living, and the Mini-Mental State Examination. Low physical function was defined as scoring <7 on the Short Physical Performance Battery. At baseline, participants were grouped into nonwalkers (n = 653), walked <150 minutes/week (n = 144), and walked 150 minutes/week or more (n = 201). A Generalized Estimating Equation model was used to estimate the odds ratio and 95% CI of low physical performance as a function of walking activity status. Results: Compared with nonwalkers, participants walking < 150 minutes/week had lower odds (odds ratio = 0.66, 95% CI, 0.51-0.86) of low physical function over time, after controlling for all covariates, as did those walking ≥ 150 minutes/ week (odds ratio = 0.54, 95% CI, 0.41-0.71). Conclusions: Mexican American older adults who engage in any walking activity are at reduced risk of low physical function, even those with disability. Interventions at the individual and community level are recommended to reduce physical function impairment, even in those with preexisting medical conditions or disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)692-697
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Volume21
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2024

Keywords

  • aging
  • exercise
  • Hispanic
  • mobility
  • Short Physical Performance Battery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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