Data on the association between informal caregiving and physical activity (PA) levels are scarce, especially from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Furthermore, previous research has yielded conflicting results. Thus, we investigated this association in adults from 38 LMICs. Data from the World Health Survey (WHS), a cross-sectional, predominantly nationally representative survey conducted in 2002–2004, were analyzed. PA was assessed by the International Physical Activity Questionnaire and participants were dichotomized into those who do (≥150 min of moderate-to-vigorous PA per week) and do not (<150 min = low PA) comply with the World Health Organization PA recommendations. Those who provided help to a relative or friend (adult or child), because this person has a long-term physical or mental illness or disability, or is getting old and weak in the past year were considered to be informal caregivers. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was conducted to assess the associations. There were 204,315 adults aged ≥18 years from 38 LMICs included in this study [mean (standard deviation) age 38.6 (16.1) years; 50.7% female]. Overall, the prevalence of caregiving and low PA was 19.5% and 29.9%, respectively. After adjustment for potential confounders, caregivers were at a lower risk for low PA compared to non-caregivers (OR = 0.79; 95% CI = 0.72–0.86). Engagement in greater number of caregiving activities was associated with lower odds for low PA dose-dependently. Informal caregiving was associated with higher levels of PA in adults in LMICs. Future studies of longitudinal design are warranted to understand causality and the underlying mechanisms of this association.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Ai Koyanagi's work is supported by the PI15/00862 project, integrated into the National R + D + I and funded by the ISCIII - General Branch Evaluation and Promotion of Health Research - and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF-FEDER). Brendon Stubbs is supported by a Clinical Lectureship ( ICA-CL-2017-03-001 ) jointly funded by Health Education England (HEE) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Brendon Stubbs is part funded by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust . Brendon Stubbs is also supported by the Maudsley Charity , King's College London and the NIHR South London Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care - Greater Manchester (CLAHRC) funding. This paper presents independent research. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the acknowledged institutions.
© 2020 The Authors
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health