1CMRI Metabolic Research Center, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK. 2Department of Medicine, Division of Gerontology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD.
Purposes: (a) To compare exercise performance and leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) between older Caucasians and African-Americans, (b) to assess the relationship between exercise performance and LTPA, and (c) to determine whether group differences in exercise performance persist after adjusting for differences in LTPA.
Methods: A total of 207 Caucasians and 160 African-Americans who were 65 years of age and older participated in this study. Subjects were characterized on exercise performance by a 6-minute walk test, and by a short physical performance battery (SPPB) score consisting of a repeated chair rise test, a standing balance test, and a 4-meter walk test. Additionally, LTPA was assessed using the Minnesota LTPA questionnaire.
Results: African-Americans had a 5% lower SPPB value ( p 0.009), a 14% shorter 6-minute walk distance ( p 0.001), and a 34% lower LTPA value ( p 0.020). LTPA was significantly related ( p 0.01) to both SPPB and 6-minute walk distance in both groups. Differences in SPPB and 6-minute walk distance between older Caucasians and African-Americans were no longer present ( p 0.05) after controlling for LTPA.
Conclusions: Older African-Americans had impaired exercise performance and lower LTPA compared to older Caucasians. Racial differences in exercise performance were no longer present after adjusting for differences in LTPA.
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