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M. Leon, D. J. Lee, B. L. Lam, K. L. Arheart, K. E. McCollister, D. D. Zheng, S. L. Christ, S. Arora; Physical Activity Levels and Reported Visual Impairment in US Adults: The 1997-2005 National Health Interview Survey. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(13):4446.
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Maintenance of physical fitness throughout the lifecourse is recommended as a strategy for the prevention of disease and disability. Presently, there exist no population-based prevalence estimates of leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) levels in community-residing adults with visual impairment (VI).
The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) is a population-based annual survey of the US non-institutionalized civilian population. Nearly 32,000 adults participated each year in the NHIS from 1997-2005, representing an average annual population of over 205 million community-residing adults 18 years of age and older. Participants were asked, "Do you have any trouble seeing, even when wearing glasses or contact lenses?" (some VI), and "Are you blind or unable to see at all? (severe VI). A series of questions were used to classify participants meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended leisure-time physical activity levels (Prev Med 2007; 44: 432-436). SAS survey procedures were used to compute the overall pooled prevalence of LTPA in sociodemographic sub-groups adjusted for survey weights and design effects. Pooled, age-adjusted prevalence rates of LTPA were also calculated.
Prevalence of CDC-recommended LTPA levels was 32.0%, 23.4%, and 19.8%, respectively in participants reporting no VI, some VI, and severe VI. Age-adjustment lowered, but did not eliminate variability in these prevalence rates (31.8%, 26.3%, 26.5%). Notably low rates of recommended LTPA levels were seen for adults 65 years of age and older with some VI and severe VI (14.8% and 10.4%). Other notable sociodemographic subgroups with low rates of LTPA include blacks with severe VI (13.4%) and Puerto Ricans reporting some VI (15.7%).
Low rates of CDC-recommended LTPA levels are seen in community-residing adults with VI, especially in the elderly and in select race-ethnic groups. Interventions designed to increase physical activity levels in these identified sub-groups are needed.
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