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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2018 Mar 14;73(4):532-538. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glx122.

The Joint Associations of Sedentary Time and Physical Activity With Mobility Disability in Older People: The NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study.

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Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University.
Metabolic Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland.



The purpose of this study was to determine the joint associations of sedentary time and physical activity with mobility disability in older age.


We analyzed prospective data from 134,269 participants in the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-American Association of Retired Persons (NIH-AARP) Diet and Health Study between 1995-1996 and 2004-2005. Total sitting time (h/d), TV viewing time (h/d) and light- and moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity (h/wk) were self-reported at baseline, and mobility disability at follow-up was defined as being "unable to walk" or having an "easy usual walking pace (<2 mph)." Multivariable logistic regression determined the independent and joint associations of sedentary time and total physical activity with the odds of disability.


Among the most active participants (>7 h/wk), sitting <6 h/d was not related to excess disability at follow-up, and those in the most active group reporting the highest level of sitting time (≥7 h/d) still had a significantly lower odds (odds ratios = 1.11; 95% confidence interval = 1.02, 1.20) compared with those reporting the lowest level of sitting (<3 h/d) in the least active group (≤3 h/wk; odds ratios = 2.07; 95% confidence interval = 1.92, 2.23). Greater TV time was significantly related to increased disability within all levels of physical activity.


Reduction of sedentary time, combined with increased physical activity may be necessary to maintain function in older age.

[Available on 2019-03-14]

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