Background: Elderly caregivers report less leisure-time physical activity than same-aged non-caregivers. However, through caregiving tasks, caregivers may be as physically active as non-caregivers. This study compared leisure-time exercise and overall physical activity in elderly women caregivers and non-caregivers. Methods: The sample included 179 caregivers (153 cared for spouses and 26 for other relatives or friends) and 670 non-caregivers who were participants in the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures. Leisure-time exercise was based on respondents' report of walking for exercise or other regular exercise at least once a week. High overall physical activity included leisure-time exercise or being in the top quartile of walking and climbing stairs during one's daily routine. Results: Leisure-time exercise was lower in spouse caregivers (adjusted odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.64, 0.41-1.00) and non-spouse caregivers (OR = 0.39, 95% CI = 0.16-0.95) than married non-caregivers. Differences in overall physical activity between caregivers and married non-caregivers were smaller and not statistically significant. Caregivers who climbed stairs at least 15 min/day during caregiving tasks reported more overall physical activity than non-caregivers (OR = 4.06, 95% CI = 1.23-13.36). Conclusions: Studies comparing physical activity in caregivers and non-caregivers should assess activities performed during routine caregiving tasks.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health