The changes in levels and barriers of physical activity among community-dwelling older adults during and after the fifth wave of COVID-19 outbreak in Hong Kong: Repeated random telephone surveys

Zixin WANG, Yuan Josephine FANG, Paul Shing-Fong CHAN, Fuk Yuen YU, Fenghua SUN

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2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: COVID-19 has had an impact on physical activity (PA) among older adults; however, it is unclear whether this effect would be long-lasting, and there is a dearth of studies assessing the changes in barriers to performing PA among older adults before and after entering the “postpandemic era.” 

Objective: The aim of this study was to compare the levels and barriers of PA among a random sample of community-dwelling older adults recruited during (February to April 2022) and after the fifth wave of the COVID-19 outbreak (May to July 2022) in Hong Kong. In addition, we investigated factors associated with a low PA level among participants recruited at different time points. 

Methods: This study involved two rounds of random telephone surveys. Participants were community-dwelling Chinese-speaking individuals aged 65 years or above and having a Hong Kong ID card. Household telephone numbers were randomly selected from the most updated telephone directories. Experienced interviewers carried out telephone interviews between 6 PM and 10 PM on weekdays and between 2 PM and 9 PM on Saturdays to avoid undersampling of working individuals. We called 3900 and 3840 households in the first and second round, respectively; for each round, 640 and 625 households had an eligible older adult and 395 and 370 completed the telephone survey, respectively. 

Results: As compared to participants in the first round, fewer participants indicated a low level of PA in the second round (28.6% vs 45.9%, P<.001). Participants in the second round had higher metabolic equivalent of tasks-minutes/week (median 1707.5 vs 840, P<.001) and minutes of moderate-to-vigorous PA per week (median 240 vs 105, P<.001) than those in the first round. After adjustment for significant background characteristics, participants who perceived a lack of physical capacity to perform PA (first round: adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 3.34, P=.001; second round: 2.92, P=.002) and believed that PA would cause pain and discomfort (first round: AOR 2.04, P=.02; second round: 2.82, P=.001) were more likely to have a low level of PA in both rounds. Lack of time (AOR 4.19, P=.01) and concern about COVID-19 infection during PA (AOR 1.73, P=.02) were associated with a low level of PA among participants in the first round, but not in the second round. A perceived lack of space and facility to perform PA at home (AOR 2.03, P=.02) and unable to find people to do PA with (AOR 1.80, P=.04) were associated with a low PA level in the second round, but not in the first round. 

Conclusions: The level of PA increased significantly among older adults after Hong Kong entered the “postpandemic era.” Different factors influenced older adults’ PA level during and after the fifth wave of the COVID-19 outbreak. Regular monitoring of the PA level and its associated factors should be conducted to guide health promotion and policy-making. Copyright © 2023 Zixin Wang, Yuan Fang, Paul Shing-Fong Chan, Fuk Yuen Yu, Fenghua Sun.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere42223
JournalJMIR Aging
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Citation

Wang, Z., Fang, Y., Chan, P. S.-F., Yu, F. Y., & Sun, F. (2023). The changes in levels and barriers of physical activity among community-dwelling older adults during and after the fifth wave of COVID-19 outbreak in Hong Kong: Repeated random telephone surveys. JMIR Aging, 6. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.2196/42223

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Physical activity
  • Older adults
  • Barriers
  • Changes
  • Repeated random telephone survey
  • China
  • Aging
  • Elderly population
  • Community-dwelling older adults
  • Health promotion
  • Telehealth

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