Physical Activity as a Mediator between Race/Ethnicity and Changes in Multimorbidity.

TitlePhysical Activity as a Mediator between Race/Ethnicity and Changes in Multimorbidity.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsNewsom, JT, Denning, EC, Elman, MR, Botoseneanu, A, Allore, HG, Nagel, CL, Dorr, DA, Quiñones, AR
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology, Series B
ISSN Number1758-5368
KeywordsChronic illness, Disparities, Exercise

OBJECTIVES: Studies report racial/ethnic disparities in multimorbidity (≥2 chronic conditions) and their rate of accumulation over time as well as differences in physical activity. Our study aimed to investigate whether racial/ethnic differences in the accumulation of multimorbidity were mediated by physical activity among middle-aged and older adults.

METHODS: We assessed racial/ethnic differences in the accumulation of multimorbidity (of nine conditions) over twelve years (2004-2016) in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS; N = 18,264, mean age = 64.4 years). Structural equation modeling was used to estimate latent growth curve models of changes in multimorbidity and investigate whether the relationship of race/ethnicity (non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic, non-Hispanic White participants) to changes in the number of chronic conditions was mediated by physical activity after controlling for age, sex, education, marital status, household wealth, insurance coverage, smoking, alcohol, and body-weight.

RESULTS: There was a significant increase in multimorbidity over time. Initial levels and changes in multimorbidity over time varied significantly across individuals. Indirect effects of the relationship between race/ethnicity and changes in multimorbidity as mediated by physical activity were significant, consistent with the mediational hypothesis. Black respondents engaged in significantly lower levels of physical activity than White respondents after controlling for covariates, but there were no differences between Hispanic and White respondents once education was included. These results provide important new information for understanding how modifiable lifestyle factors may help explain disparities in multimorbidity in mid-to-late life, suggesting greater need to intervene to reduce sedentary behavior and increase physical activity.

Citation Key11796
PubMed ID34374757
PubMed Central IDPMC9371457