Objective In this study, whether physical activity is independently associated with direct healthcare costs in community-dwelling older adults with multiple chronic conditions was examined.
Design Cross-sectional analysis
Setting Research laboratory
Participants 299 community-dwelling men and women volunteers aged 65 years and older with chronic conditions.
Main outcome measures Primary dependent variable was direct healthcare costs incurred in the previous 3 months. Participants completed the Health Resource Utilisation (HRU) questionnaire. To estimate HRU, direct costs in the previous 3 months were calculated using the three-party payer perspective of the British Columbia Ministry of Health, deemed representative of the Canadian healthcare system costs. For medications, the Retail Pharmacy Dispensed prescription cost tables were used. Primary independent variables were (1) self-report current level of physical activity as assessed by the Physical Activity Scale for Individuals with Physical Disabilities (PASIPD) and (2) general balance and mobility as assessed by the National Institute on Aging Balance Scale.
Results The mean number of chronic conditions per participant was six. Current level of physical activity was independently and inversely associated with HRU. Age, sex, number of chronic conditions, global cognitive function, body mass index, and general balance and mobility together accounted for 24.3% of the total variance. Adding the PASIPD score resulted in an R2 change of 3.3% and significantly improved the model. The total variance accounted by the final model was 27.6%.
Conclusions Physical activity promotion may reduce healthcare costs in older adults with chronic conditions.
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Competing interests None.