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Ambient Fine Particulate Matter Air Pollution and Physical Activity: A Longitudinal Study of University Retirees in Beijing, China

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Objectives: We examined the longitudinal relationship between ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution and physical activity-related health behaviors among university retirees in Beijing, China. Methods: Annual health surveys of retirees were conducted at Tsinghua University during 2011-2016. We conducted linear individual fixed-effect regression analyses to estimate the impact of ambient PM2.5 concentration on physical activity-related health behaviors among survey participants, adjusting for various time-variant individual characteristics and environmental measures. Results: An increase in ambient PM2.5 concentration by one standard deviation (56.6 μg/m³) was associated with a reduction in weekly total hours of walking by 4.69 (95% confidence interval=1.30–8.08), a reduction in leisure-time Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE) score by 71.16 (28.91–113.41), and a reduction in total PASE score by 110.67 (59.25–162.08). An increase in ambient PM2.5 concentration by one standard deviation was associated with an increase in daily average hours of nighttime/daytime sleeping by 1.75 (1.24–2.26). The impact of ambient PM2.5 concentration on weekly hours of walking tended to be greater among men than among women. Conclusions: Air pollution significantly discouraged Chinese older adults from engaging in daily physical activities. Policy interventions are needed to reduce air pollution in China's urban areas.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Physical Education, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China., Email: [email protected] 2: Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, College of Applied Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL, USA

Publication date: 2017-07-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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