Factors influencing outdoor recreation physical activity among elderly in the south eastern part of Sweden

Document type: Conference Presentations
Peer reviewed: Yes
Author(s): Katarina Sjögren, Louise Stjernberg
Title: Factors influencing outdoor recreation physical activity among elderly in the south eastern part of Sweden
Conference name: 12th World Congress On Public Health.
Year: 2009
City: Istanbul
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: School of Health Science (Sektionen för hälsa)
School of Health Science S-371 79 Karlskrona
+46 455 38 50 00
Authors e-mail: katarina.sjogren@bth.se
Language: English
Abstract: Background
The elderly population in the world are increasing. Health promoting activities aiming at a long healthy life among the elderly is a central public health issue. Regular outdoor recreation physical activity is associated with physical and mental health benefits, also if starting late in life. We studied outdoor recreation physical activities and factors influencing such activities, among persons aged >60 years.

The study was performed within the longitudinal Swedish National Study on Aging and Care. Baseline data were collected between 2001 and 2003. Respondents completed a questionnaire about sex, age, outdoor physical activities during the last year, access to recreational areas, socioeconomic status, social network, anxiety of falling or being assaulted outdoors and capability to have a shower by themselves. A binary logistic regression was used to determine differences in variables constituting on factors enhancing the probability on performing outdoor recreation physical activities.

In total, 999/1402 (71 %) respondents aged 60-96 years answered all the questions in the questionnaire. Of those, 659/999 (66 %) had performed outdoor recreation physical activities several times/week during the last year. The probability on performing activities was significantly higher among women when compared to men. The activities decreased significantly when becoming >80 years, especially among women. Also, being a woman with poor economy decreased the probability significantly compared to men in the same situation. Other factors which significantly increased the performance were; access to a recreational area, if respondents were not anxious of falling and if respondents were capable to have a shower by themselves.

To facilitate outdoor physical activities among elderly, extra support seems important for men <80 years and for both sexes when becoming >80 years. Also, those anxious of falling and women with a poor economy need support. Access to recreational areas is of importance.
Subject: Public Health\General
Keywords: Elderly, Gender, Outdoor recreation, Physical activity, Public Health