Introduction: To investigate the independent and joint effects of leisure activities on disability in activities of daily living (ADL) among the oldest-old Chinese population (aged ≥ 80 years).

Results: A total of 3696 participants with ADL disability were identified during the median follow-up period of 3.1 years. Compared to the participants who “never” watched TV or listened to the radio and who “never” kept domestic animals or pets, those who engaged in these activities “almost every day” had a significantly lower ADL disability risk (adjusted hazard ratios were 0.74 and 0.66, respectively; both P < 0.001). Furthermore, participants engaging in multiple leisure activities showed a reduced risk of ADL disability (P for trend < 0.001).

Conclusions: Frequently watching TV or listening to the radio and keeping domestic animals or pets was associated with a lower risk of ADL disability among the oldest-old Chinese population.

Methods: We included 12,331 participants (aged ≥ 80 years) (mean [SD] age: 89.5 [7.0] years) who managed to perform ADL independently at baseline in the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey 1998-2014 waves. Cox proportional hazards models were used to examine whether leisure activities were associated with ADL disability.