The role of sports clubs in helping older people to stay active and prevent frailty: a longitudinal mediation analysis

Article


Watts, P., Webb, Elizabeth and Netuveli, G. 2017. The role of sports clubs in helping older people to stay active and prevent frailty: a longitudinal mediation analysis. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 14, p. Art. 95.
AuthorsWatts, P., Webb, Elizabeth and Netuveli, G.
Abstract

Background
Frailty is a common syndrome in older adults characterised by increased vulnerability to adverse health outcomes as a result of decline in functional and physiological measures. Frailty predicts a range of poor health and social outcomes and is associated with increased risk of hospital admission. The health benefits of sport and physical activity and the health risks of inactivity are well known. However, less is known about the role of sports clubs and physical activity in preventing and managing frailty in older adults. The objective of this study is to examine the role of membership of sports clubs in promoting physical activity and reducing levels of frailty in older adults.
Methods

We used data from waves 1 to 7 of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). Survey items on physical activity were combined to produce a measure of moderate or vigorous physical activity for each wave. Frailty was measured using an index of accumulated deficits. A total of sixty deficits, including symptoms, disabilities and diseases were recorded through self-report and tests. Direct and indirect relationships between sports club membership, levels of physical activity and frailty were examined using a cross-lagged panel model.
Results

We found evidence for an indirect relationship between sports club membership and frailty, mediated by physical activity. This finding was observed when examining time-specific indirect pathways and the total of all indirect pathways across seven waves of survey data (Est = −0.097 [95% CI = −0.124,-0.070], p = <0.001).

Conclusions

These analyses provide evidence to suggest that sports clubs may be useful in preventing and managing frailty in older adults, both directly and indirectly through increased physical activity levels. Sports clubs accessible to older people may improve health in this demographic by increasing activity levels and reducing frailty and associated comorbidities. There is a need for investment in these organisations to provide opportunities for older people to achieve the levels of physical activity necessary to prevent health problems associated with inactivity.

KeywordsPhysical activity; Sports clubs; Frailty; Older adults
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Journal citation14, p. Art. 95
ISSN1479-5868
Year2017
PublisherBioMed Central
Publisher's version
License
CC BY
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1186/s12966-017-0552-5
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1186/s12966-017-0552-5
https://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12966-017-0552-5
Publication dates
Print14 Jul 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited24 Jul 2017
Accepted07 Jul 2017
FunderNational Institute of Aging
Office for National Statistics
External resourceThe role of sports clubs in helping older people to stay active and prevent frailty: a longitudinal mediation analysis
Copyright information© 2017 The Authors
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