UMass Worcester PRC Publications


The influence of physical activity and sedentary behavior on living to age 85 years without disease and disability in older women

UMMS Affiliation

UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center; Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Behavioral Medicine | Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Community Health | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Exercise Science | Geriatrics | Preventive Medicine | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion | Women's Health


Background: Whether physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior influence the odds of women living to age 85 years without chronic disease or disability is not well described.

Methods: Participants of the Women's Health Initiative (n=49,612) were categorized based on health status by age 85 years: 1) lived without developing major chronic disease or mobility disability ("healthy"); 2) lived and developed mobility disability with or without disease; 3) lived and developed major chronic disease, but not mobility disability; and 4) died before their 85 th birth year. Multinomial logistic regression models that adjusted for covariates such as age, race/ethnicity, and body size estimated associations of self-reported PA and sitting time on developing major disease or mobility disability or dying before age 85 relative to being healthy.

Results: Mean+/-SD baseline age was 70.2+/-3.6 years. Distributions were: 22% healthy, 23% had mobility disability, 26% had major disease, 29% died. Relative to those with high total PA, the adjusted OR (CI) for mobility disability was 1.6 (1.4-1.7), 1.2 (1.1-1.3), and 1.1 (1.0-1.2) for women with no, low, and moderate total PA, respectively (p-trend < 0.001). The corresponding covariate-adjusted OR (CI) for mortality was 1.7 (1.5-1.8), 1.2 (1.1-1.3), and 1.0 (1.0-1.1) (p-trend < 0.001). Total PA was not associated with developing chronic disease before age 85 years. Sitting > /=10 relative to < 5 hours/day increased the odds of mobility disability (1.1, CI: 1.0-1.3) and mortality (1.2, CI: 1.0-1.3) prior to age 85 years (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Increasing PA to recommended levels and reducing sitting time are modifiable behaviors that may improve healthy aging in older women.


exercise, late-age survival, mobility disability, mortality, sitting time

DOI of Published Version



J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2017 Nov 20. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glx222. [Epub ahead of print]. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID