250560 An examination of the relationship between physical activity, obesity, general health, and health self-efficacy among the elderly

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mikiyasu Hakoyama, PhD , Human Environmental Studies, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI
Physical activity has become a major focus of concern for many health researchers, professionals, and gerontologists. While younger people may incorporate physical activity as part of their daily routines for maintaining good health, it is less clear to what extent seniors engage in physical activity and how such efforts might have impacted their general health. A health needs, preferences, and utilization assessment survey was conducted in four rural counties in central Michigan. Based on the responses of 757 participants aged 65 and older, relationships between physical activity, obesity, general health, and health self-efficacy were examined. While nearly 30% of the respondents reported that they exercised more than 20 times per month, 20% of the residents did not engage in physical activity at all. Gender, body Mass Index (BMI), health self-efficacy, income, and education level were associated with physical activity frequency. It was also revealed that physical activity frequency contributed to general health of the residents. Physically active residents reported significantly higher general health status and also were less likely to have utilized hospital emergency rooms. Also, physically active residents were more likely to eat a balanced diet and less likely to be obese. Findings in this study will allow community health professionals to pinpoint the target population to address messages and strategies that help older residents to more actively engage in physical activity, which, in turn, will contribute to reducing obesity and improving health of the elderly.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify demographic and behavioral characteristics associated with physical activity. 2. Describe relationships between levels of physical activity and health outcomes. 3. Discuss recommendations to develop effective interventional approaches.

Keywords: Aging, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a Ph.D., authored and co-authored book chapters on public health, and also teach gerontology.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.