Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):10, 48, , 239-244
The United States is undergoing a transformative shift in the demographic composition of adults. Indeed, there is an emergent and staggering rate of growth in the percentage of adults aged 65 years or older and this has been termed the Graying of America. The proportion of the population aged 65 years or older is projected to increase from 12.4% in 2000 to 19.6% in 2030.1 This reflects a twofold increase in the number of persons aged 65 years or older from nearly 35 million in 2000 to an estimated 71 million in 2030.1 One of the fastest growing segments of the United States population is those aged 80 years or older. The number of persons in this age group is expected to more than double from 9.3 million in 2000 to 19.5 million in 2030.1 The growing percentage and number of older adults is expected to be accompanied by a considerable burden on the public health system, and the medical and social services.1 This burden is associated with a disproportionate rate of chronic disease conditions among older adults (eg, cancers, diabetes, and stroke) that will represent a primary source of health care services and costs. Of further importance, agingand chronic disease conditions are primary correlates of disablement and compromised quality of life (QOL), and this underscores the importance of identifying factors that might promote healthy aging (ie, optimal mental and physical well-being and function in older adults). Physical activity behavior is associated with reduced risks of chronic disease conditions (obesity, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, depression, and certain cancers) and premature mortality, and might be positively associated with functional limitations, disability, and QOL in older adults.2–5 This article provides a brief and focused overview of physical activity behavior and its association with functional limitations, disability, and QOL in older adults.