Mobility Difficulties, Physical Activity, and All-cause Mortality Risk in a Nationally representative Sample of Older Adults
Olaya, B.; Moneta, M.Victoria.; Doménech-Abella, J.; Miret, M.; Bayes, I.; Ayuso-Mateos, Jé.Luis.; Haro, J.Maria.
Journals of Gerontology. Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 73(9): 1272-1279
ISSN/ISBN: 1079-5006 PMID: 28633439 DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glx121
This study sought to determine the association between levels of physical activity and mobility difficulties and time to death while accounting for the effect of several confounders. We also examined the possible interaction between them and how various daily-life mobility difficulties could predict all-cause mortality. A nationally representative sample of 2,074 noninstitutionalized adults aged 60 years and older was analyzed. Vital status over a 3-year follow-up period was ascertained through national registers or by asking participants' relatives. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were stratified by levels of physical activity and mobility difficulties. Unadjusted and adjusted Cox proportional hazards regression models (by age, gender, marital status, years of education, multimorbidity, tobacco and alcohol consumption, depression, and memory function) were calculated, and interactions between the predictors and the covariates were explored. There was a dose-gradient effect of physical activity on time to death, with high levels associated with a 51% lower risk of dying, compared with moderate physical activity. Each unit increase in mobility functioning was associated with a 2% drop in mortality. Difficulties in standing for long periods, getting where one wants to go or extending arms to reach objects, were also found to be strong predictors of all-cause mortality. Our results confirm the importance of older adults practicing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. The assessment of self-reported difficulties in daily-life mobility activities, such as standing for long periods or not being able to move around, could be used in health settings as a screening for mortality risk.