Does Physical and Mental Health Status Differ By Physical Activity Levels In Male and Female Older Adults?




Carter, Christen
Boykin, Chelsi
Fazleabas Tori, Farhana
Boone, Courtney


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Purpose: Limited findings are available regarding whether physical activity improves general physical health (PH) and mental health (MH) in older adults; therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine whether PH and MH differ by aerobic activity (AA) and strength training activity (STA) in older adults. Methods: This cross-sectional analysis used 2017 BRFSS data for adults ages 65 and older in Arizona (N=5117), Iowa (N=2138), Montana (N=1916), Oregon (N=567), and Pennsylvania (N=1643). Ordered logistic regression analysis by state and gender was used to evaluate the relationship between PH and MH with AA and STA, after controlling for health-related, socioeconomic, and demographic factors.​ Results: Adults who met AA and STA guidelines reported high proportions of good PH days (59-79%) and of good MH days (72-88%). The results of adjusted analysis indicated that AA was significantly related to PH in both genders across states and to MH in females in the majority of states. STA was not significantly related to PH or MH across states for both genders. Results also indicated that number of health conditions was significantly related to PH and MH in both genders and weight status was significantly related to PH in females.​ Conclusions: Overall, AA was related to PH in both genders and to MH in older females. Practitioners should educate older patients on managing their physical and mental health and evaluate physical activity levels, with a focus on aerobic activity.