In addition, the project will allow an assessment of the cost effectiveness of walking programs for the elderly, and whether the money spent on such programs can help reduce medical expenses for injuries and illness that might otherwise result from lack of adequate physical activity.
As life expectancy increases in the United States, the care of older adults has become a major issue for clinical practice as well as public health policy. Average life expectancy today is 77.7 years almost seven years more than in 1970, according to CDC data.
As adults age, many lose vitality and the inclination or ability to engage in physical activities as simple as walking. Older adults ages 60 to 85 spend almost 60 percent of their time more than eight of their waking hours in sedentary behaviors, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
The length of time spent in sedentary behaviors has been associated with increased risk of weight gain and various diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. And people who lose their mobility have higher rates of sickness, hospitalization and death than others who do not have disabilities.
"Limitations in walking ability compromise independence, and contribute to the need for assistive care," said Evan C. Hadley, M.D., director of NIA's Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology, whose program is overseeing the trial. "Older people with impaired walking are less likely to remain in the community, have higher rates of certain diseases and death, and experience a poorer quality of life. A successful intervention might help prevent these bad outcomes."
|Contact: Czerne M. Reid|
University of Florida