Quality of Life Research

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 1213–1223 | Cite as

Health-related quality of life in relation to walking habits and fitness: a population-based study of 75-year-olds

Article

Abstract

Purpose

To assess health-related quality of life (HRQL) in relation to walking habits and fitness status in older persons. A second aim was to examine fitness status as a mediator in the relation between walking habits and HRQL.

Methods

A cross-sectional population-based sample of 75-year-olds from Gothenburg, Sweden, was examined (n = 698, response rate 61 %). Walking habits were assessed as weekly frequency and duration. HRQL was assessed with the Short Form-36 (SF-36) and fitness with maximal and self-selected gait speed, chair-stand, stair-climbing capacity, grip strength and one-leg stance.

Results

The proportion of 75-year-olds who attained recommended levels of moderate physical activity (≥ 150 min/week), described as walking, was 60 %. This was positively associated with most subscales of SF-36 and with all fitness tests except grip strength. Maximal gait speed was the fitness test with the highest correlations to all SF-36 subscales. Fitness, described with maximal gait speed, was a partial mediator in most relations between walking habits and SF-36. After adjustment for confounders, associations between regular walking and SF-36 were no longer significant, except for Role Physical, General Health and Role Emotional in women.

Conclusions

Attaining recommended levels of walking, as well as a high fitness status, is positively associated with several aspects of HRQL in older persons. Fitness, described with maximal gait speed, seems to have a partial role in the relation between walking habits and HRQL, suggesting that other mechanisms are also involved.

Keywords

Aged Physical activity Quality of life Physical function Gait speed Mediator 

Abbreviations

BMI

Body Mass Index

DSM

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

HRQL

Health-related quality of life

OR

Odds Ratio

QoL

Quality of Life

SF-36

Short Form-36

WHO

World Health Organization

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helena Hörder
    • 1
  • Ingmar Skoog
    • 1
  • Kerstin Frändin
    • 1
  1. 1.GothenburgSweden

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