Older adults' favorite activities are resoundingly active: Findings from the NHATS study

Sarah L. Szanton, Rachel K. Walker, Laken Roberts, Roland J. Thorpe, Jennifer Wolff, Emily Agree, David L. Roth, Laura N Gitlin, Christopher Seplaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Activity is associated with health among older adults yet older adults' favorite activities have rarely been investigated. We analyzed the community dwelling, cognitively-intact sample of NHATS, a nationally representative sample of adults ≥65, who had named their favorite activities (. N = 5247). Logistic regression models estimated the odds of choosing a physical activity controlling for demographics, self-rated health, and disability. For all ages, four of the top five most common favorite activities were active: walking/jogging (14%), outdoor maintenance (13%), playing sports (8.9%), and other physical activity (8.7%). These findings sustain in 65-75 year olds. Even in 80-84 year olds, 3 of the top five activities are active. These findings vary by self-rated health (OR = 0.71, p < 0.001), disability (OR = 0.72, p < 0.001) and gender (OR = 0.52, p < 0.001). Policy makers, clinicians, and urban planners can use these results in their work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-135
Number of pages5
JournalGeriatric Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Activities
  • Participation
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology


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