Leisure-time exercise and overall physical activity in older women caregivers and non-caregivers from the Caregiver-SOF study

Lisa Fredman, Rosanna M. Bertrand, Lynn M. Martire, Marc Hochberg, Emily L. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-229
Number of pages4
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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