TitleUsing Mixed Methods to Explore Older Residents' Physical Activity and Experiences of Community Active Aging Friendliness
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsNader, PAbi, John, DH, Gunter, K
JournalOBM Geriatrics
Pagination1 - 1
Date Published10/201801/2020

Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality and as such, it is critical that physical activity guidelines for health consider equitable access to physical activity opportunities for all, including those aged 65 years and older. The purpose of this study was to examine the intersections of attributes of older people (e.g. income, gender, age, health, physical activity) and attributes of the places they live (e.g. rurality, public transit, sidewalks, parks, community centre) to explain older adults’ likelihood of participating in physical activities recommended for health. The study employed a sequential mixed-methods design. We examined the interplay of self-reported walking and exercise behaviours in a representative sample of independent, older adult (n=126; age 65 years and older) residents with physical activity features of their rural (n=3) and urban (n=3) communities. Computed logistic regressions models predicted survey respondents' reports of walking and exercise by community type. Quantitative findings were integrated with voiced experiences of community features as qualitative determinants of active aging provided by adult residents (n=237; ages 50 and older). Qualitative data were coded and analysed using constant comparison triangulation across data sources. Qualitative data consisted of mapped photographs of observable determinants, physical activity supports and barriers, and transcribed focus group narratives generated by local residents. Older adults living in more urban (vs. rural) communities reporting good health and higher income had greater odds of walking around their neighbourhood (p<0.001). Women (vs. men) reporting good health and higher income had greater odds (p<0.05) of exercising regardless of community type. Rural (vs. urban) communities were described as having fewer available, accessible, and affordable supports, and more barriers for walking and exercising. Our data suggest active aging initiatives should include socio-environmental strategies and address resource inequities to enable participation across geographic, economic, gender, and health status differences among older adults. In particular, living in a rural place, being low-income and of poor health were associated with lower odds of walking or doing other forms of exercise, fewer supports and more socio-environmental barriers to active aging for older adults in our study.


Short Titleobm geriatr