An exploratory study to determine the relationship between levels of habitual activity and nutritional status, functional status, dietary intake and fatigue in older adults.
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Jones, J. (2015) An exploratory study to determine the relationship between levels of habitual activity and nutritional status, functional status, dietary intake and fatigue in older adults., no. 355.
Introduction: Scotland has an ageing population which has significant implications for health and social care services. Encouraging older people to engage in healthy lifestyle behaviours has the potential to maintain a person’s functional ability, increase healthy life years and thus has the potential to enable older people to live at home independently for longer. Recommendations for levels of activity have been produced for older adults but whether these are being achieved is currently unknown. Levels of activity are influenced by many factors including nutritional and functional status, dietary intake and fatigue but as yet the relationship between these parameters and habitual activity has not been established. Therefore the aims of this study were 1) to determine the relationship between levels of habitual activity and nutritional status, functional ability, dietary intake, and levels of fatigue in older adults and 2) to inform physical activity targets for the aging population. Methods: Older adults were recruited from a range of social and leisure facilities across central Scotland. Habitual activity was measured continuously for seven consecutive days using an activPALTM accelerometer. Nutritional status (BMI, waist circumference (WC), tricep skinfold and mid arm muscle circumference) was measured using ISAK methodology. Functional status (handgrip dynamometry, sit to stand (STS), six minute walk (6MW) and gait speed (m/s)) was measured along with dietary intake using a seven day unweighed diet diary. In addition levels of fatigue were measured using the Multi-dimensional Fatigue Inventory. Pearson’s correlation coefficient analysis was utilised to establish relationships between levels of habitual activity and markers of nutritional status, functional status and dietary intake. Spearman’s rho correlation analysis was utilised to establish the relationship between levels of habitual activity and levels of fatigue. Partial correlation analysis was used to establish the influence of age and gender on these relationships. Results: Forty four (21m, 23f) healthy older adults were recruited and completed the study. Participants were found to spend a mean±sd 551 ± 88 min in sedentary behaviour daily which equates to 61±10% awake time being sedentary. They took 8721 ± 3585 steps daily and spent 108±38 min stepping, 253±78 min standing and 1080±103 min sitting or lying each day. Percent time in sedentary behaviour was positively associated with BMI (r=.302, p=.049), WC (cm) (r=.302, p=.049), percent energy intake from fat (r=.535, p<.001) and saturated fat (r=.381, p=.011) and was negatively associated with 6MW (m) (r=-.445, p=.002) and % energy from non-milk extrinsic sugar (r=-.314, p=.038). Total weekly time in moderate intensity activity accumulated in blocks of at least 10 minutes was positively associated with 6MW (r=0.321, p=.041), daily protein intake (g) (r=.350, p=.025) and mean daily vitamin D intake (μg) (r=.404, p=.009) and was negatively associated with STS (r=-.321, p=.041). Age but not gender influenced the relationships. Conclusion: This is the first study to report objectively measured levels of sedentary behaviour where habitual activity was measured continuously over seven days and sedentary behaviour was considered during waking hours only in a Scottish older adult population. Recommendations for physical activity were not consistently met and there is therefore some indication that current recommendations for sedentary behaviour and physical activity should be reviewed. However activity cannot be considered in isolation as many factors influence this including nutritional status, functional status, dietary intake and levels of fatigue.