Patterns of Daily Physical Movement, Chronic Inflammation, and Frailty Incidence

Amal A. Wanigatunga, Venus Chiu, Yurun Cai, Jacek K. Urbanek, Christine M. Mitchell, Edgar R. Miller, Robert H. Christenson, Heather Rebuck, Erin D. Michos, Stephen P. Juraschek, Jeremy Walston, Qian Li Xue, Karen Bandeen-Roche, Lawrence J. Appel, Jennifer A. Schrack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Low physical activity is a criterion of phenotypic frailty defined as an increased state of vulnerability to adverse health outcomes. Whether disengagement from daily all-purpose physical activity is prospectively associated with frailty and possibly modified by chronic inflammation - a pathway often underlying frailty - remains unexplored. Methods Using the Study to Understand Fall Reduction and Vitamin D in You data from 477 robust/prefrail adults (mean age = 76 ± 5 yr; 42% women), we examined whether accelerometer patterns (activity counts per day, active minutes per day, and activity fragmentation [broken accumulation]) were associated with incident frailty using Cox proportional hazard regression. Baseline interactions between each accelerometer metric and markers of inflammation that include interleukin-6, C-reactive protein, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha receptor 1 were also examined. Results Over an average of 1.3 yr, 42 participants (9%) developed frailty. In Cox regression models adjusted for demographics, medical conditions, and device wear days, every 30 min·d-1 higher baseline active time, 100,000 more activity counts per day, and 1% lower activity fragmentation was associated with a 16% (P = 0.003), 13% (P = 0.001), and 8% (P < 0.001) lower risk of frailty, respectively. No interactions between accelerometer metrics and baseline interleukin-6, C-reactive protein, or tumor necrosis factor-alpha receptor 1 were detected (interaction P > 0.06 for all). Conclusions Among older adults who are either robust or prefrail, constricted patterns of daily physical activity (i.e., lower total activity minutes and counts, and higher activity fragmentation) were prospectively associated with higher risk of frailty but not modified by frailty-related chronic inflammation. Additional studies, particularly trials, are needed to understand if this association is causal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-288
Number of pages8
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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