Physical activity among older people living alone in Shanghai, China

Yu Chen*, Alison E. While, Allan Hicks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To investigate physical activity among older people living alone in Shanghai, People's Republic of China, and key factors contributing to their physical activity. 

Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was administered in nine communities in Shanghai, using a stratified random cluster sample: 521 community-dwelling older people living alone (aged 60 years and above) completed a structured questionnaire through face-to-face interviews. Their physical activity was measured using their self-reported frequency of engaging in different types of activities. Other data collected included self-rated health, number of chronic diseases, depression, functional ability, loneliness, social support and socio-demographic variables. 

Results: Only 16.7% of participants reported adequate physical activity, defined as performing at least 30 minutes of moderate/strenuous exercise on at least 5 days per week. A younger age, a lower level of education, better functional ability and walking outside the home 5 - 7 days per week increased the likelihood of adequate physical activity. Gender, self-rated health, number of chronic diseases, depression and social support also had relationships with physical activity levels. 

Conclusion: The prevalence of adequate physical activity in older people living alone in Shanghai was low. In this population, appropriate health education interventions to promote physical activity levels are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-167
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2015


  • China
  • living alone
  • older people
  • physical activity
  • related factors


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