Prospective association between late-life physical activity and hospital care utilisation: A 7-year nationwide follow-up study

Po Wen Ku, Andrew Steptoe, Yi Huei Chen, Li Jung Chen, Ching Heng Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: it is still equivocal whether there is a potential role of late-life physical activity in ameliorating the challenges of increasing healthcare expenditure due to the consequence of global population ageing. Objective: this study aimed to examine the prospective association between physical activity and subsequent hospital care utilisation in older adults and to explore the optimal dose of physical activity required to reduce hospital care utilisation. Design: this was a prospective cohort study based on the data from the Taiwan 2005 National Health Interview Survey, which were linked to the 2005-12 claims data from the National Health Insurance system. Participants: 1,760 older adults aged 65 or more. Methods: the frequency, duration and intensity for physical activity were assessed, and total physical activity energy expenditure was estimated. The average annualised hospital care utilisation for the period 2006 through 2012, including number of hospitalisations, number of days in hospital and the costs of hospitalisation, were calculated. Results: older adults engaging in at least moderate volume of physical activity (≥1,000 kcal/week) experienced fewer subsequent hospital admissions and fewer days in hospital than did sedentary individuals, after adjusting for covariates. Trends for reduced hospitalisation costs were also found. These associations persisted in sensitivity analyses, including tests of reverse causation. Conclusion: this study has provided evidence that older adults who are at least moderately active may minimise utilisation of hospital care services. The findings highlight the importance of maintaining a physically active lifestyle in later life.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberafw202
Pages (from-to)452-459
Number of pages8
JournalAge and ageing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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