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The Gerontologist 48:349-357 (2008)
© 2008 The Gerontological Society of America

Everyday Physical Activity as a Predictor of Late-Life Mortality

Judith G. Chipperfield, PhD

Correspondence: Address correspondence to Judith Chipperfield, Duff Roblin Building, Department of Psychology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, R3T 2N2. E-mail: chipper{at}

Purpose: The present study hypothesized that simple, everyday physical activity (EPA) would decline with advancing age; that women would have a more favorable EPA profile than would men; and that EPA would have a survival benefit. Design and Methods: Community-dwelling participants (aged 80–98 years, n = 198) wore mechanical actigraphs in order for EPA to be assessed. Individuals were classified as active, inactive, and sedentary based on their level of EPA exhibited over a substantial part of the day. Survival status was available at approximately 2 years. Results: Mean EPA scores decreased with advancing age and, in contrast to men, women in their early eighties appeared to be protected from declining EPA. This partially supported the hypothesis that women would have a more favorable EPA profile. What is most important is that mean EPA scores predicted mortality. Moreover, when compared with their less sedentary counterparts, sedentary adults were more than three times as likely to be deceased 2 years later. Implications: Researchers need to conduct new trials to determine whether or how physical activity is associated with mortality.

Key Words: Death • Gender • Longevity • Sedentary • Survival

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J. G. Chipperfield, N. E. Newall, L. P. Chuchmach, A. U. Swift, and T. L. Haynes
Differential Determinants of Men's and Women's Everyday Physical Activity in Later Life
J. Gerontol. B. Psychol. Sci. Soc. Sci., July 1, 2008; 63(4): S211 - S218.
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Copyright © 2008 by The Gerontological Society of America.