A decrease in physical activity and an increase in sedentary behavior is seen among older women with Parkinson disease (PD) compared with women without PD. Moreover, women with PD spend less time engaged in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. These are the findings of a study published in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports.
Researchers performed a secondary analysis on data collected from ambulatory women who wore an accelerometer for a period of 7 days for 14.9 hours per day between 2011 and 2015 as part of The Women’s Health Study (WHS).
The researchers assessed PD status annually through mail-in questionnaires before wearing the device.
Out of the 17,466 older women participating in the WHS, the final analysis included 80 women who reported having PD, while 16,661 women without PD were included. Of those included, most identified as White (96%) and had a median age of 70 (interquartile range [IQR], 67–75) during accelerometer wear. Their median body mass index (BMI) was 25.4 kg/m2 (IQR, 22.7–29.0 kg/m2).
The majority of women viewed their health positively, with 24.6% considering it excellent and 50% rating it very good. Additionally, 73.7% women reported having 1-2 comorbidities.
Among the participants, 50.3% held at least a bachelor’s degree, while 61.8% women reported an annual household income of $50,000 or more.
In comparison with individuals without PD (n=16,661), those with PD (n=80) exhibited a decrease of 98,400 vector magnitude counts per day. Additionally, they spent an average of 23.2 more minutes per day in a sedentary state (β, 23.2; SE, 9.1; P =.011) and 10.5 more minutes per day engaged in low-level physical activity (β, 10.5, SE, 4.5; P =.019).
Meanwhile, compared with women without PD, those with PD were found to spend 6.4 fewer minutes per day in high light-intensity physical activity (β, -6.4, SE, 3.2; P =.046) and 27.3 fewer minutes per day in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (β, -27.3, SE, 4.4; P <.001).
These patterns may signify declining functional ability and heightened risk of negative health outcomes.
The study was limited by the nature of its cross-sectional design. Additionally, the 2 cohorts consisted primarily of White women who were health care professionals with a higher socioeconomic status, potentially leading to a sample of women who are healthier and more physically active.
The researchers concluded, “Prevention strategies to promote physical activity should be emphasized to enhance health and limit progression of disability in this population of women living with PD.”
Hale JL, Knell G, Swartz MD, et al. The prospective association of accelerometer-measured physical activity and sedentary behavior and time to Parkinson’s disease diagnosis in older women: the Women’s Health Study (WHS). Prev Med Rep. Published online August 2, 2023. doi:10.1016/j.pmedr.2023.102361