Researchers at Queen’s University have received $1.5 million in funding to lead an international study to explore individual and community factors that hinder seniors from maintaining physically activity.
Susan Phillips, co-author of the study and faculty at Family Medicine, expressed excitement at receiving the funding.
She further stated, “We are especially trying to understand how social circumstances interact with sex/gender differences to undermine mobility. This knowledge will help to develop programs and policies to prevent mobility loss.”
A total of 1,600 seniors from the ages of 65 to 74 in Kingston, Ontario, St Hyacinthe in Quebec, as well as in Colombia and Brazil are to be interviewed and will undertake a number of physical and cognitive assessments about every four months for the next six years.
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Women experience more mobility problems as they age when compared to men, possibly due to typically having lower incomes or because of fear of victimization – for example, seniors living in high-crime areas may be less willing to walk outside.
Previous studies indicated that mobility loss could be lessened or even reversed by increasing community safety and cohesion. Those elements could encourage physical activity that is essential for maintaining mobility. Date from studies in the United States suggests that 30 to 35 percent of Canadians over 65 years old have some mobility disabilities.
“Our findings will be central to shaping public policies on healthy communities,” says Dr. Phillips.
Beatriz Alvarado (Community Health and Epidemiology) and Angela Garcia (Geriatrics) and Maria Vitoria Zunzunegui and Ellen Freeman from the University of Montreal co-authored the study which was funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research.
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