• Vol. 32 No. 6, 801–806
  • 15 November 2003

Correlates of Habitual Walking and Sports/Leisure-time Physical Activity in Older Persons in Singapore: Interaction Effects Between Educational Attainment and Gender



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Introduction: We examined for demographic and psychosocial correlates on the participation of habitual walking and sports/leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) among older persons in Singapore.

Materials and Methods: In an observational study, 177 Chinese, community/urban-dwelling, ambulant, non-disabled participants >50 years old were recruited from a health promotion programme. The main outcome measures were self-reported participation in habitual walking and sports/LTPA. Variables examined include highest educational attainment, demographic and health characteristics, social contact and health knowledge. Interaction between gender and educational attainment was also examined.

Results: The mean age of participants was 62.5 + 7.8 years. The effects of educational level were significant on habitual walking (P = 0.02), while that of age, self-rated health and interaction between gender and educational level were significant for sports/LTPA (P = 0.012, P = 0.002 and P = 0.019, respectively). Men with higher education had a higher self-reported sport/LTPA, while in women; those with lower education attainment had a higher participation.

Conclusion: Unlike findings from Western developed nations, previous studies done in Japan and Singapore found that educational level and health behaviours may not be positively associated. In this study, there is a negative correlation between educational attainment and participation in habitual walking and sports/LTPA, especially among older Singaporean women.

Physical inactivity has been identified as a major cause of morbidity and mortality secondary to cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus and hypertension. It contributes to the loss of physiological and psychological capabilities that result in overall reduction in function and independent living.

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