Research Article| Volume 49, ISSUE 3, e13-e22, September 2015

Patterns of Physical Activity Among Older Adults in New York City

A Latent Class Approach


      Little research to date has explored typologies of physical activity among older adults. An understanding of physical activity patterns may help to both determine the health benefits of different types of activity and target interventions to increase activity levels in older adults. This analysis, conducted in 2014, used a latent class analysis approach to characterize patterns of physical activity in a cohort of older adults.


      A total of 3,497 men and women aged 65–75 years living in New York City completed the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE) in 2011. PASE scale items were used to classify subjects into latent classes. Multinomial regression was then used to relate individual and neighborhood characteristics to class membership.


      Five latent classes were identified: “least active,” “walkers,” “domestic/gardening,” “athletic,” and “domestic/gardening athletic.” Individual-level predictors, including more education, higher income, and better self-reported health, were associated with membership in the more-active classes, particularly the athletic classes. Residential characteristics, including living in single-family housing and living in the lower-density boroughs of New York City, were predictive of membership in one of the domestic/gardening classes. Class membership was associated with BMI even after controlling for total PASE score.


      This study suggests that individual and neighborhood characteristics are associated with distinct physical activity patterns in a group of older urban adults. These patterns are associated with body habitus independent of overall activity.
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