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IJERPH, Vol. 12, Pages 13923-13937: Relationship between Objectively Measured Transportation Behaviors and Health Characteristics in Older Adults

30 Oct 2015

This study used objective Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to investigate the relationship between pedestrian and vehicle trips to physical, cognitive, and psychological functioning in older adults living in retirement communities. Older adults (N = 279; mean age = 83 ± 6 years) wore a GPS and accelerometer for 6 days. Participants completed standard health measures. The Personal Activity and Location Measurement System (PALMS) was used to calculate the average daily number of trips, distance, and minutes traveled for pedestrian and vehicle trips from the combined GPS and accelerometer data. Linear mixed effects regression models explored relationships between these transportation variables and physical, psychological and cognitive functioning. Number, distance, and minutes of pedestrian trips were positively associated with physical and psychological functioning but not cognitive functioning. Number of vehicle trips was negatively associated with fear of falls; there were no other associations between the vehicle trip variables and functioning. Vehicle travel did not appear to be related to functioning in older adults in retirement communities except that fear of falling was related to number of vehicle trips. Pedestrian trips had moderate associations with multiple physical and psychological functioning measures, supporting a link between walking and many aspects of health in older adults.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health