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J Am Geriatr Soc. 1995 Aug;43(8):845-54.

Associations of physical activity with performance-based and self-reported physical functioning in older men: the Honolulu Heart Program.

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  • 1Geriatric Medicine Program, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, USA.



To examine the association of self-reported physical activity with performance-based and self-reported physical functioning measured 3 to 5 years later.


A population-based, longitudinal study.


The island of Oahu, Hawaii.


Subjects were 3640 Japanese-American men older than 70 years of age.


Estimated daily energy expenditure evaluated from self-reported engagement in a variety of activities determined from a mail survey in 1988; physical functioning status determined from both self-report and performance-based measures 3 to 5 years later. The effect of physical activity on physical functioning scores was determined through multiple logistic regression and analysis of covariance techniques for subjects who had chronic diseases as well as those in a healthy subsample.


For the healthy subsample, those who were highly active in 1988 were more likely to have optimal function for the basic activities of daily living score (odds ratio 2.3; confidence interval (CI) 1.1 to 4.9), home management skills score (odds ratio 1.5; CI 1.1 to 2.1), and physical endurance-type tasks score (odds ratio 1.7; CI 1.2 to 2.4) than subjects classified as low active. A significant linear trend was found additionally across physical activity level for time to walk 10 feet and grip strength (P values < .001). Similar results were found for subjects with chronic diseases; however, most of the benefit of physical activity for this subsample occurred for subjects who were at least physically active at a moderate level.


Engaging in physical activity is predictive of a high level of physical functioning in older men with and without chronic diseases. Participation in at least moderate physical activity may be sufficient to maintain optimal physical functioning in subjects afflicted with chronic diseases.

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