The journal of nutrition, health & aging

, Volume 20, Issue 7, pp 752–758 | Cite as

Accelerometer assessment of physical activity and its association with physical function in older adults residing at assisted care facilities

  • Michael P. Corcoran
  • K. K. H. Chui
  • D. K. White
  • K. F. Reid
  • D. Kirn
  • M. E. Nelson
  • J. M. Sacheck
  • S. C. Folta
  • R. A. Fielding



To describe levels of physical activity among older adults residing at assisted care facilities and their association with physical function.


Cross-sectional analysis.


Assisted care facilities within the greater Boston, MA area.


Older adults aged 65 years and older (N = 65).


Physical Activity Level (PAL) as defined by quartiles from accelerometry (counts and steps), Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) Score, gait speed, and handgrip strength.


Participants in the most active accelerometry quartile engaged in 25 minutes/week of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and walked 2,150 steps/day. These individuals had an SPPB score, 400 meter walk speed, and handgrip strength that was 3.7–3.9 points, 0.3–0.4 meters/second, and 4.5–5.1 kg greater respectively, than individuals in the lowest activity quartile, who engaged in less than 5 min/wk of MVPA or took fewer than 460 steps/day.


Despite engaging in physical activity levels far below current recommendations (150 min/week of MVPA or > 7000 steps/day), the most active older adults in this study exhibited clinically significant differences in physical function relative to their less active peers. While the direction of causality cannot be determined from this cross-sectional study, these findings suggest a strong association between PAL and physical function among older adults residing in an assisted care facility.


Physical activity physical function older adults assisted care facilities 


  1. 1.
    Morie M, Reid KF, Miciek R, Lajevardi N, Choong K, Krasnoff JB, Storer TW, et al. Habitual physical activity levels are associated with performance in measures of physical function and mobility in older men. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2010;58(9):1727–1733.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Chale-Rush A, Guralnik JM, Walkup MP, Miller ME, Rejeski WJ, Katula JA, King AC, et al. Relationship between physical functioning and physical activity in the lifestyle interventions and independence for elders pilot. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2010;58(10):1918–1924.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Pahor M, Guralnik JM, Ambrosius WT, Blair S, Bonds DE, Church TS, Espeland MA, et al. Effect of Structured Physical Activity on Prevention of Major Mobility Disability in Older Adults: The LIFE Study Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2014.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    White DK, Tudor-Locke C, Zhang Y, Fielding R, La Valley M, Felson DT, Gross KD, et al. Daily walking and the risk of incident functional limitation in knee osteoarthritis: an observational study. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2014;66(9):1328–1336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    US Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee final report. 2008; Accessed December, 2014.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Davis MG, Fox KR. Physical activity patterns assessed by accelerometry in older people. European journal of applied physiology. 2007;100(5):581–589.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Evenson KR, Buchner DM, Morland KB. Objective measurement of physical activity and sedentary behavior among US adults aged 60 years or older. Preventing chronic disease. 2012;9:E26.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hansen BH, Kolle E, Dyrstad SM, Holme I, Anderssen SA. Accelerometerdetermined physical activity in adults and older people. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012;44(2):266–272.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Troiano RP, Berrigan D, Dodd KW, Masse LC, Tilert T, McDowell M. Physical activity in the United States measured by accelerometer. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008;40(1):181–188.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Tudor-Locke C, Schuna JM, Barreira TV, Mire EF, Broyles ST, Katzmarzyk PT, Johnson WD. Normative steps/day values for older adults: NHANES 2005-2006. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2013;68(11):1426–1432.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Lien WC, Chang JH, Guo NW, Lin YC, Hsieh PC, Kuan TS. Determinants of Perceived Physical Environment Barriers among Community-Dwelling Elderly in Taiwan. J Nutr Health Aging. 2015;19(5):575–582.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Caffrey CSM, Park-Lee E., Moss A., Rosenoff E., Harris-Kojetin L. Residents living in residential care facilities: United States, 2010. NCHS data brief, no 91. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2012.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Vincent GK, Velkoff, V.A. THE NEXT FOUR DECADES: The Older Population in the United States: 2010 to 2050. In: U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration, ed. Accessed at: U.S. Census Bureau; 2010.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Byala G, Grimes R, Bersani M, Kyllo D, Maag S, Bernstecker R, Schless D, et al. 2009 Overview of Assisted Living. Vol June. Assisted Living Federation of America; 2009:1–68.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Corcoran MP, Nelson ME, Sacheck JM, Reid KF, Kirn D, Fielding R, Folta SC. Recruitment of Mobility Limited Older Adults Into a Facility-Led Exercise-Nutrition Study: The Effect of Social Involvement. Gerontologist. 2015.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    King AC, Friedman R, Marcus B, Castro C, Forsyth L, Napolitano M, Pinto B. Harnessing motivational forces in the promotion of physical activity: the Community Health Advice by Telephone (CHAT) project. Health education research., 2002;17(5):627–636.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Brooke P, Bullock R. Validation of a 6 item cognitive impairment test with a view to primary care usage. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 1999;14(11):936–940.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Stewart AL, Mills KM, King AC, Haskell WL, Gillis D, Ritter PL. CHAMPS physical activity questionnaire for older adults: outcomes for interventions. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001;33(7):1126–1141.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Guralnik JM, Simonsick EM, Ferrucci L, Glynn RJ, Berkman LF, Blazer DG, Scherr PA, et al. A short physical performance battery assessing lower extremity function: association with self-reported disability and prediction of mortality and nursing home admission. J Gerontol. 1994;49(2):M85–94.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Newman AB, Simonsick EM, Naydeck BL, Boudreau RM, Kritchevsky SB, Nevitt MC, Pahor M, et al. Association of long-distance corridor walk performance with mortality, cardiovascular disease, mobility limitation, and disability. JAMA. 2006;295(17):2018–2026.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Massy-Westropp NM, Gill TK, Taylor AW, Bohannon RW, Hill CL. Hand Grip Strength: age and gender stratified normative data in a population-based study. BMC Res Notes. 2011;4:127.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Choi L, Ward SC, Schnelle JF, Buchowski MS. Assessment of wear/nonwear time classification algorithms for triaxial accelerometer. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012;44(10):2009–2016.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Le Masurier GC, Tudor-Locke C. Comparison of pedometer and accelerometer accuracy under controlled conditions. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003;35(5):867–871.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Tudor-Locke C, Johnson WD, Katzmarzyk PT. Accelerometer-determined steps per day in US adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009;41(7):1384–1391.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Tudor-Locke C, Johnson WD, Katzmarzyk PT. Relationship between accelerometerdetermined steps/day and other accelerometer outputs in US adults. Journal of physical activity & health. 2011;8(3):410–419.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Radloff LS. The CES-D Scale: a self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Appl Psychol Meas. 1977;1:385–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Copeland JL, Esliger DW. Accelerometer assessment of physical activity in active, healthy older adults. Journal of aging and physical activity. 2009;17(1):17–30.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Pruitt LA, Glynn NW, King AC, Guralnik JM, Aiken EK, Miller G, Haskell WL. Use of accelerometry to measure physical activity in older adults at risk for mobility disability. Journal of aging and physical activity. 2008;16(4):416–434.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Trayers T, Lawlor DA, Fox KR, Coulson J, Davis M, Stathi A, Peters T. Associations of objectively measured physical activity with lower limb function in older men and women: findings from the Older People and Active Living (OPAL) study. Journal of aging and physical activity., 2009;22(1):34–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Perera S, Mody SH, Woodman RC, Studenski SA. Meaningful change and responsiveness in common physical performance measures in older adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2006;54(5):743–749.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Tudor-Locke C, Leonardi C, Johnson WD, Katzmarzyk PT, Church TS. Accelerometer steps/day translation of moderate-to-vigorous activity. Preventive medicine. 2011;53(1-2):31–33.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Vestergaard S, Patel KV, Bandinelli S, Ferrucci L, Guralnik JM. Characteristics of 400-meter walk test performance and subsequent mortality in older adults. Rejuvenation Res. 2009;12(3):177–184.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Ling CH, Taekema D, de Craen AJ, Gussekloo J, Westendorp RG, Maier AB. Handgrip strength and mortality in the oldest old population: the Leiden 85-plus study. CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l’Association medicale canadienne. 2010;182(5):429–435.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Serdi and Springer-Verlag France 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael P. Corcoran
    • 1
    • 5
  • K. K. H. Chui
    • 2
  • D. K. White
    • 3
  • K. F. Reid
    • 4
  • D. Kirn
    • 4
  • M. E. Nelson
    • 1
    • 4
  • J. M. Sacheck
    • 1
    • 4
  • S. C. Folta
    • 1
    • 4
  • R. A. Fielding
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Friedman School of Nutrition Science and PolicyTufts UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Tufts University School of MedicineTufts UniversityBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Physical TherapyUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  4. 4.Nutrition, Exercise Physiology, and Sarcopenia Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on AgingTufts UniversityBostonUSA
  5. 5.Assistant Professor of Health SciencesMerrimack CollegeNorth AndoverUSA

Personalised recommendations