Physical activity and physical functioning in Swedish and Iranian 75-year-olds – A comparison
Journal article, 2012
Background and purpose: The pattern of population aging is highly complex and contextually based. Cross-national comparisons are helpful to explore related factors. Two cross-sectional studies designed to compare physical activity level, physical functioning and certain health related factors in 75-year-old women and men in Sweden and Iran. Materials and methods: Cohorts of 637 Swedish and 851 Iranian 75-year-olds were investigated with the same methods regarding physical activity level, physical functioning and health related factors. Results: There were differences in physical activity level (p < 0.001), self-reported physical functioning (p < 0.001) objective physical functioning (p < 0.001), health status (p < 0.001) and most socio-demographic aspects between the two countries. Here the Swedish cohort had the advantage. There was no difference between the countries regarding prevalence of vertigo or falls. The only variables where the Iranian cohort had advantage over the Swedes were grip strength and smoking habits. There were larger gender differences in walking habits, self-selected walking speed, timed chair stand, and one-leg stance in Iran, and in grip strength in Sweden, all to the disadvantage of women. Conclusions: Iranian 75-years-olds had a lower physical activity level, a worse lower extremity physical function but a better grip strength, a worse physical health status, but smoked less than their Swedish counterparts. Despite this, there were no differences regarding vertigo or falls. In most aspects, the magnitude of gender differences was about the same and in disadvantage of women, although there were larger differences in Iran in some lower extremity functions. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.