PA longitudinal patterns [jech].pdf (170.71 kB)

Longitudinal patterns in physical activity and sedentary behaviour from mid-life to early old age: a substudy of the Whitehall II cohort

Download (170.71 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 30.10.2015, 11:50 by Mark Hamer, Mika Kivimaki, Andrew Steptoe
Background There are few longitudinal data on physical activity patterns from mid-life into older age. The authors examined associations of self-reported physical activity, adiposity and socio-demographic factors in mid-life with objectively assessed measures of activity in older age. Methods Participants were 394 healthy men and women drawn from the Whitehall II population-based cohort study. At the baseline assessment in 1997 (mean age 54 years), physical activity was assessed through self-report and quantified as metabolic equivalent of task hours/week. At the follow-up in 2010 (mean age 66 years), physical activity was objectively measured using accelerometers worn during waking hours for seven consecutive days (average daily wear time 891668 min/day). Results Self-reported physical activity at baseline was associated with objectively assessed activity at follow-up in various activity categories, including light-, moderate and vigorous-intensity activity (all ps<0.04). Participants in the highest compared with lowest quartile of self reported activity level at baseline recorded on average 64.1 (95% CI 26.2 to 102.1) counts per minute more accelerometer-assessed activity at follow-up and 9.0 (2.0e16.0) min/day more moderate-to-vigorous daily activity, after adjusting for baseline covariates. Lower education, obesity and self-perceived health status were also related to physical activity at follow-up. Only age and education were associated with objectively measured sedentary time at follow-up. Conclusion Physical activity behaviour in middle age was associated with objectively measured physical activity in later life after 13 years of follow-up, suggesting that the habits in adulthood are partly tracked into older age.


This research was supported by the British Heart Foundation, the Medical Research Council and the BUPA Foundation, UK. The Whitehall II study is additionally supported by the National Institutes of Health (R01HL36310; R01AG013196; R01AG034454), USA.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health


HAMER, M., KIVIMAKI, M. and STEPTOE, A., 2012. Longitudinal patterns in physical activity and sedentary behaviour from mid-life to early old age: a substudy of the Whitehall II cohort. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 66, pp. 1110-1115.


© The Authors. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group


VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC 3.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

Publication date



This is an Open Access Article. It is published by the BMJ Publishing Group under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence (CC BY-NC). Full details of this licence are available at:





Usage metrics

Loughborough Publications