2017-07-05Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.1159/000475558
Individual Characteristics and Physical Activity in Older Adults: A Systematic Review
Background: People aged 50 years and older are regularly identified as the most sedentary group in the population. However, even within this group, there are considerable interindividual variations in physical activity (PA) levels. They have been the subject of many studies. Based on single studies, no clear picture as to which characteristics are important has emerged. Objective: The goal of our contribution was to identify which individual characteristics are consistently linked to high PA levels in older adults. Methods: We conducted a systematic review of the literature considering demographic characteristics (gender, education, marital status, employment), health (subjective, health problems), and psychological factors (motivation, self-efficacy, locus of control). A systematic search of abstracts in the database Web of Science and a thorough screening process according to a priori specified criteria yielded 63 studies for inclusion in this review. Results: Two psychological factors - motivation and self-efficacy - and the perception of one's health seem to be consistently linked to higher PA levels in older adults. Selected demographic variables - gender and education - may be important for some types of PA. Conclusion: Our review suggests that differentiation of PA by domains is important for identifying and understanding which individual characteristics are associated with PA levels and how. Pinpointing what reliably distinguishes older adults who are active from those who are not is essential for designing effective interventions to promote PA in later life.
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This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.