Abstract

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.