International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 62, Issue 4, pp 495–502 | Cite as

Cross-sectional and prospective relationship between physical activity and chronic diseases in European older adults

  • Adilson Marques
  • Miguel Peralta
  • João MartinsEmail author
  • Margarida Gaspar de Matos
  • Ross C. Brownson
Original Article



This study examined the relationship between physical activity (PA) and chronic diseases in European older adults, using a prospective analysis with data from 2011 and 2013.


Participants were 37,524 older adults (16,204 men) who responded to the fourth (in 2011) and fifth (in 2013) wave of SHARE project, from 13 European countries. Participants’ answers to interview questions about the presence of chronic conditions and PA. The cross-sectional and prospective association between PA and the number of chronic diseases was assessed using general linear models.


Among men and women, moderate or vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in 2011 was associated with fewer reported chronic diseases in 2011 and 2013. In prospective analysis, MVPA in 2011 was inversely associated with the number of chronic diseases in 2013 in the unadjusted model. In the adjusted model MVPA more than once a week remained as a significant predictor of fewer chronic diseases.


PA should be prescribed to older adults in order to prevent and reduce the number of chronic diseases, and, when possible, vigorous intensity PA should be recommended.


Older people vigorous physical activity Exercise Public health SHARE 


Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Conflict of interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adilson Marques
    • 1
    • 2
  • Miguel Peralta
    • 3
  • João Martins
    • 4
    Email author
  • Margarida Gaspar de Matos
    • 3
    • 5
  • Ross C. Brownson
    • 6
  1. 1.Centro Interdisciplinar de Estudo da Performance Humana, Faculdade de Motricidade HumanaUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Centro de Investigação em Saúde Pública, Escola Nacional de Saúde PúblicaUniversidade Nova de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Faculdade de Motricidade HumanaUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  4. 4.Laboratório de Pedagogia, Faculdade de Motricidade Humana e UIDEF, Instituto de EducaçãoUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  5. 5.William James Center for ResearchInstituto Superior de Psicologia AplicadaLisbonPortugal
  6. 6.George Warren Brown School of Social WorkWashington UniversitySt. LouisUSA

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