Prevalence and factors associated with physical inactivity among the elderly: a population-based study

Andréia Queiroz Ribeiro Sara Maria Lopes Salgado Ivani Soleira Gomes Aline Siqueira Fogal Karina Oliveira Martinho Luciene Fátima Fernandes Almeida Wederson Cândido de Oliveira About the authors



To determine the prevalence of physical inactivity among elderly individuals in the municipality of Viçosa, Minas Gerais and identify associated factors.


A cross-sectional population-based study of 621 elderly persons was conducted in Viçosa, Minas Gerais. The dependent variable was physical inactivity, defined by the question "Do you practice some kind of physical activity?" The definition of the term "physical activity" was restricted to activities performed regularly, for at least 20 minutes, three times a week, disregarding domestic, industrial and transportation activities. The independent variables were age; gender; education; self-rated health; functional capacity; history of diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia and osteoporosis; overweight; risk of metabolic disorders; smoking; number of medical appointments; history of hospitalizations in the last year and private health insurance. Descriptive analysis and multiple Poisson regression were used.


The prevalence of physical inactivity was 70.1% (95% CI: 66.0%-74.0%). The associated factors were the male gender, aged over 80 years, less educated, low functional capacity, smokes and did not have private health insurance.


The high prevalence of physical inactivity and its associated factors indicate the need to develop systematic approaches to improve public policies directed at this age group.

Key words:
Physical Inactivity; Associated Factors; Elderly

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