Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Active lifestyles related to excellent self-rated health and quality of life: cross sectional findings from 194,545 participants in The 45 and Up Study

Richard R Rosenkranz12*, Mitch J Duncan3, Sara K Rosenkranz2 and Gregory S Kolt1

Author Affiliations

1 School of Science and Health, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, Australia

2 Department of Human Nutrition, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, USA

3 Institute for Health and Social Science Research, Centre for Physical Activity Studies, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Australia

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:1071  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-1071

Published: 13 November 2013

Abstract

Background

Physical activity and sitting time independently contribute to chronic disease risk, though little work has focused on aspirational health outcomes. The purpose of this study was to examine associations between physical activity, sitting time, and excellent overall health (ExH) and quality of life (ExQoL) in Australian adults.

Methods

The 45 and Up Study is a large Australian prospective cohort study (n = 267,153). Present analyses are from 194,545 participants (48% male; mean age = 61.6 ± 10.7 yrs) with complete baseline questionnaire data on exposures, outcomes, and potential confounders (age, income, education, smoking, marital status, weight status, sex, residential remoteness and economic advantage, functional limitation and chronic disease). The Active Australia survey was used to assess walking, moderate, and vigorous physical activity. Sitting time was determined by asking participants to indicate number of hours per day usually spent sitting. Participants reported overall health and quality of life, using a five-point scale (excellent—poor). Binary logistic regression models were used to analyze associations, controlling for potential confounders.

Results

Approximately 16.5% of participants reported ExH, and 25.7% reported ExQoL. In fully adjusted models, physical activity was positively associated with ExH (AOR = adjusted odds ratio for most versus least active = 2.22, 95% CI = 2.20, 2.47; Ptrend < 0.001) and ExQoL (AOR for most versus least active = 2.30, 95% CI = 2.12, 2.49; Ptrend < 0.001). In fully adjusted models, sitting time was inversely associated with ExH (AOR for least versus most sitting group = 1.13, 95% CI = 1.09, 1.18; Ptrend < 0.001) and ExQoL (AOR for least versus most sitting group = 1.13, 95% CI = 1.10, 1.17; Ptrend < 0.001). In fully adjusted models, interactions between physical activity and sitting time were not significant for ExH (P = 0.118) or ExQoL (P = 0.296).

Conclusions

Physical activity and sitting time are independently associated with excellent health and quality of life in this large diverse sample of Australian middle-aged and older adults. These findings bolster evidence informing health promotion efforts to increase PA and decrease sitting time toward the achievement of better population health and the pursuit of successful aging.

Keywords:
Physical activity; Sedentary behavior; Sitting time; Sedentary lifestyle; Salutogenic; Health promotion; Adult; Older adult; Successful aging; Quality of life