Subjective well-being in Swedish active seniors and its relationship with physical activity and commonly available biomarkers
Lovisa A Olsson,1,2 Anita Hurtig-Wennlöf,2 Torbjörn K Nilsson3
1Department of Laboratory Medicine/Clinical Chemistry, Örebro University Hospital, 2School of Health and Medical Science, Örebro University, Örebro; 3Department of Medical Biosciences/Clinical Chemistry, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
Background: Physical activity is claimed to be related to well-being and to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, the possible associations of well-being with physical activity and biomarkers of somatic health were studied in a sample of Swedish active seniors to determine the strength of these associations.
Methods: Three hundred and eighty-nine community-dwelling senior citizens (127 men and 262 women) of mean age 74±5 years were recruited for this cross-sectional population study. Serum samples were analyzed for lipoproteins and markers of inflammation. The Psychological General Well-Being (PGWB) index was used to measure subjective well-being. Physical activity was assessed by the International Physical Activity Questionnaire modified for the elderly.
Results: More than 50% of men and women rated their physical activity as high; in the women, there was a significant difference between the age groups (younger and older than the median age [median =74.1 years], respectively). The mean PGWB index indicates a high degree of subjective well-being in this group of Swedish seniors. Of the PGWB subdimensions, general health had the strongest positive relationship with physical activity (r2=5.4%). for the subdimensions of depressed mood, positive well-being, vitality, and PGWB index, physical activity had an r2 ≤4%, while the contributions of sex, age, and biomarkers were minor.
Conclusion: We have estimated the contribution of physical activity to the variance of subjective well-being in active seniors. Physical activity appears to play a greater role as a determinant of subjective well-being than do biomarkers of somatic health, especially in females, but most of the variance remained unaccounted for by the studied variables.
Keywords: subjective well-being, physical activity, biomarkers
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