The Relation of Physical Activity and Self-Rated Health in Older Age - Cross Country Analysis Results from SHARE

  • Eric FaßEmail author
  • Torsten Schlesinger


This study analyses the influence of individual and socio-structural resources on the relation of physical activity and self-rated health in older age. Furthermore, countryspecific differences regarding the direction and strength of these influence structures will be analysed. Based on the sixth wave of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement (SHARE), a hierarchical multiple ordered regression model and 15 country-specific regression models were estimated to test our hypotheses. The sample consisted of 32,282 retired people from 14 European countries plus Israel at least 65 years of age. After adjusting for individual and socio-structural resources, a higher level of physical activity was associated with better self-rated health. Compared to the unadjusted model, the relation was less strong but remained significant. Particularly chronic diseases, limitations in the activities of daily living and self-rated household income affected the relation of physical activity and self-rated health. The international comparison shows country-specific differences regarding the strength of the relations, and differences in the direction of the effects. Individual and socio-structural resources are significant determinants regarding the relation of physical activity and self-rated health in older age. Therefore, preventive (health) care for the elderly should be focused more on creating structural and socioeconomic conditions, enabling the elderly to make choices that address their health needs, not least being physically active (or by regular physical activities).


Self-rated health Physical activity Older age SHARE Cross-country study 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Sport ScienceRuhr University BochumBochumGermany

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