Background: Evidence investigating associations between hospitalization and physical activity is scarce and limited to specific populations of older adults. Objective: The current study aimed to describe the impact of past hospitalization on current physical activity levels of a large representative sample of European older adults with accelerometry data. Methods: A representative sample of 856 European older adults aged 50 years and over was included in this study. Hospital admission and utilization (i.e., accumulated times and length of stay in hospital) in the last 12 months were self-reported retrospectively. Physical activity volume (mg) and distribution of intensity (intensity gradient) were assessed with thigh-worn accelerometers. Results: Multivariate linear regressions indicated that hospital admission (15% of the sample) was associated with reduced physical activity volume (−4.29 mg; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), −9.07 to 0.47) of participants. Each additional hospital admission was associated with lower volume (−2.29 mg; 95% CI, −4.65 to 0.06) and poorer distribution of intensity (−0.07; 95% CI, −0.11 to −0.04). Total length of stay was not associated with physical activity. Conclusions: This study suggests that hospital admission and the number of times admitted, but not accumulated length of stay, may curb physical activity levels of older adults. Public health strategies to promote successful aging should target post-hospitalization physical activity.
- data-driven physical activity metrics
- physical activity intensity
- health care use