Associations between physical activity, sedentary time, glucose metabolism, coronary heart diseases and risk for all-cause mortality in older adults. Population-based Oulu45 cohort

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Topic of the dissertation

Associations between physical activity, sedentary time, glucose metabolism, coronary heart diseases and risk for all-cause mortality in older adults. Population-based Oulu45 cohort

Doctoral candidate

M.H.Sc. Miia Länsitie

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Medicine, Research Unit of Population Health, Oulu Deaconess Institute Foundation sr., Medical Research Center Oulu

Subject of study

Exercise Medicine

Opponent

Professor Sarianna Sipilä, University of Jyväskylä, The Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences

Custos

Professor Raija Korpelainen, University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine. Oulu Deaconess Institute Foundation sr., Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine

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Lower sedentary time and higher physical activity improve glucose metabolism and heart health, and decrease mortality even in older age

According to doctoral thesis of M.H.Sc. Miia Länsitie, low physical activity and excessive sedentary time are linked to higher risk for glucose metabolism disorders, cardiovascular diseases and mortality in older adults. However, these encouraging results suggest that reducing sedentary time and increasing even light physical activity may substantially lower the risk.

This study with 714 men and women aged approximately 70 years was a sub study of a population-based Oulu1945 survey conducted by the University of Oulu and ODL Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine. Physical activity and sedentary time were monitored with a wrist-worn accelerometer for two weeks. Glucose metabolism was examined with an oral glucose tolerance test. The Framingham risk scores were used to estimate the cardiovascular disease risk based on participants sex, age, blood pressure, cholesterol values, diabetes, medication, and smoking. The data on deaths were monitored during six years after the physical activity measurement.

Four physical activity profiles were identified: Couch potatoes, Light movers, Sedentary actives, and Actives. In more active profiles, prevalence of glucose metabolism disorders were lower compared to the less active profiles. In obese older adults, even light physical activity and low sedentary time were associated with better glucose metabolism. High amount of light or moderate to vigorous physical activity and low time spent sedentary were associated with reduced cardiovascular disease risk. High amount of light physical activity and low sedentary time were associated with lower mortality rate.

“Our novel finding is that participating in physical activity and reducing sedentary time can prevent type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases even in older age. Many older adults whose physical activity level is low or who have functional limitations, might feel that the current physical activity recommendations are too demanding. Our results are very encouraging, because even reducing sedentary time and being active in daily life seem to be beneficial especially for older adults with high waist circumference. This is very important note also for health care professionals: If there are no option to increase physical activity, reducing sitting time is possible almost for everyone and it is a good start.” says doctoral researcher Miia Länsitie.
Last updated: 28.9.2022