Research Paper Volume 12, Issue 5 pp 4592—4602

Leisure-time physical activity volume, intensity, and duration from mid- to late-life in U.S. subpopulations by race and sex. The Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities (ARIC) Study

Dmitry Kats1, , Kelly R. Evenson1, , Donglin Zeng2, , Christy L. Avery1, , Priya Palta3, , Stephen B. Kritchevsky4, , Gerardo Heiss1, ,

  • 1 Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
  • 2 Department of Biostatistics, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
  • 3 Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10032, USA
  • 4 Sticht Center on Aging, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA

Received: December 26, 2019       Accepted: March 2, 2020       Published: March 13, 2020
How to Cite

Copyright © 2020 Kats et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Mitigating age-related disease and disability presents challenges. Physical activity (PA) may be influential for prolonging health and functioning, warranting characterization of its patterns over the life course in population-based data. With the availability of up to three self-reported assessments of past year leisure-time PA (LTPA) over multiple decades in 15,036 participants (26% African American; 55% women; mean baseline age=54; median follow-up=23 years) from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study sampled from four U.S. communities, race-sex-stratified trajectories of average weekly intensity (metabolic equivalent of task (MET)), duration (hours), and energy expenditure or volume (MET-h) of LTPA were developed from age 45 to 90 using joint models to accommodate expected non-ignorable attrition. Declines in weekly LTPA intensity, duration, and volume from age 70 to 90 were observed in white women (2.9 to 1.2 MET; 2.5 to 0.6 h; 11.1 to 2.6 MET-h), white men (2.5 to 1.0 MET; 3.5 to 1.8 h; 15.5 to 6.4 MET-h), African American women (2.5 to 2.4 MET; 0.8 to 0.1 h; 6.7 to 6.0 MET-h), and African American men (2.3 to 1.4 MET; 1.5 to 0.6 h; 8.0 to 2.3 MET-h). These data reveal population-wide shifts towards less active lifestyles in older adulthood.


PA: physical activity; LTPA: leisure-time physical activity; ARIC: Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities; MET: metabolic equivalent of task; MNAR: missingness not at random; CI: confidence interval.