Frequency of going outdoors as a good predictors for incident disability of physical function as well as disability recovery in community-dwelling older adults in rural Japan

Koji Fujita, Yoshinori Fujiwara, Paulo H.M. Chaves, Yutaka Motohashi, Shoji Shinkai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The clinico-epidemiologic relevance of the reduction in the frequency of going outdoors in older adults has not been well characterized. This study examined whether the frequency of going outdoors has predictive values for incident physical disability and recovery among community dwelling elderly. Methods: One thousand, two hundred and sixty-seven persons aged 65+ years who lived in a rural community in Niigata, Japan, and participated in the baseline survey were assessed again 2 years later in terms of mobility, and instrumental and basic activities of daily living (IADL and BADL). We compared the incident disability and recovery at follow-up among three subgroups classified by the baseline frequency of going outdoors: once a day or more often, once per 2-3 days, and once a week or less often. Multivariate analyses tested associations between the frequency of going outdoors and functional transition, independent of potential confounders. Results: A lower frequency of going outdoors at baseline was associated with a greater incident disability, and a lower recovery at the two-year follow-up. Even after adjustment, the effects of going outdoors remained significant. Adjusted risks of incident mobility and IADL disabilities were significantly higher (odds ratio[OR]=4.02, 95% confidence interval [Cl]: 1.77-9.14 and OR=2.65, 95% Cl: 1.06-6.58), respectively, and recovery from mobility disability was significantly lower (OR= 0.29, 95% Cl: 0.08-0.99) for "once a week or less often" subgroup compared with "once a day or more often" subgroup. Conclusion: The frequency of going outdoors is a good predictor for incident physical disability and recovery among community-living elderly. Public health nurses and clinicians should pay more attention how often their senior clients usually go outdoors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-270
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Epidemiology
Volume16
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 3 2006

Keywords

  • Community-dwelling elderly
  • Frequency of going outdoors
  • Functional transition
  • Predictor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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