Queen's University

$1.5 million supports international study on mobility loss in seniors


Queen’s University researchers are leading an international study exploring both individual and community factors that keep people from remaining physically active.

“We are thrilled to receive this funding,” says Susan Phillips (Family Medicine), co-author of the study. “We are especially trying to understand how social circumstances interact with sex/gender differences to undermine mobility. This knowledge will help to develop programs and policies to prevent mobility loss.”

1,600 seniors age 65 to 74 in Kingston, St Hyacinthe (Que.), Colombia and Brazil will be interviewed and complete a number of physical and cognitive assessments three times over six years.

Mobility problems are more common among women, perhaps because of factors such as lower incomes or a fear of victimization – people who live in high-crime areas may be less willing to walk outside.

Existing research suggests that mobility loss could be prevented or reversed by increasing community safety and cohesion. These factors foster individual physical activity that is key to maintaining mobility. U.S. data would suggest that 30 to 35 percent of Canadians over age 65 have mobility disabilities.

“Our findings will be central to shaping public policies on healthy communities,” says Dr. Phillips.

Beatriz Alvarado (Community Health and Epidemiology) and Angela Garcia (Geriatrics) and Maria Vitoria Zunzunegui and Ellen Freeman from the University of Montreal are co-authors on the study funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research.

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Last updated at 9:45 pm EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
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