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Prev Med. 2009 Dec;49(6):506-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2009.10.001. Epub 2009 Oct 13.

Perceived constraints on physical exercise among obese and non-obese older people.

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The Finnish Centre for Interdisciplinary Gerontology, Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, P.O. Box 35 (Viveca), Jyväskylä 40014, Finland.



To examine what older obese people consider as constraints on their physical exercise and to determine whether these constraints can explain the differences in physical activity.


Six hundred nineteen community-living people aged 75-81 years living in Jyväskylä, Central Finland, in 2003 were included in these cross-sectional analyses. Weight and height were measured at the research center, and physical activity and perceived constraints on physical exercise were assessed using validated questionnaires. Participants were categorized as non-obese (n=436), moderately obese (n=127) or severely obese (n=56).


The risk of physical inactivity was two times higher in the moderately obese group (OR 1.99, 95% CI 1.27-3.12) and over four times higher in the severely obese group (OR 4.58, 95% CI 2.55-8.24) compared to the non-obese group. Higher prevalence of comorbidities, pain, tiredness, fear of falling and injury, discomfort and feelings of insecurity when exercising explained almost half of the increased risk of physical inactivity of older severely obese people.


Results suggest that physical activity promotion among older obese people may be well received as long as it focuses on factors that enable participation in physical activity and takes into account their constraints on physical activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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