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Physical activity in mid-age and older women: Lessons from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health

Speaker: Professor Wendy Brown, University of Queensland

Event details


The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) commenced in 1996 when researchers recruited approximately 40,000 women in three birth cohorts, 1973-1978, 1946-1951 and 1921-1926. Since then participants have completed surveys on a wide range of health issues, at approximately three year intervals. This presentation will describe changes in physical activity (PA) over time in the mid-age and older ALSWH cohorts, and summarize the findings of studies from the ALSWH on the determinants of PA, and its associated health outcomes in Australian women. The data show a significant increase in physical activity during mid-age, and a rapid decline in activity levels when women are in their 80s. The study has demonstrated the importance of life-stages and key life events as determinants of activity, the additional benefits of vigorous activity for mid-age women, and the health benefits of ‘only walking’ for older women. The data indicate that maintaining a high level of physical activity throughout mid and older age will not only reduce the risk of premature death, but also significantly extend the number of years of healthy life.


Baring Court 217