Daily step count and the need for hospital care in subsequent years in a community-based sample of older Australians
The known Most investigations of the benefits of physical activity for health have used self-reported measures of physical activity of limited validity. As a large proportion of people admitted to Australian hospitals are over 55, quantifying the factors that influence their need for hospital care is important.
The new An increase in step count from 4500 to 8800 steps per day was associated with 0.36 fewer hospital bed-days per person per year.
The implications Health interventions and urban design features that encourage walking could have a substantial effect on the need for hospital care, and should be features of health policy.
Epidemiologic evidence strongly suggests that increased levels of physical activity are associated with the reduced incidence, prevalence and mortality of a range of diseases.1 Its impact on the use of health services, however, is not well studied. With an ageing and largely inactive population putting increased pressure on inpatient hospital services, it is important to understand the extent to which increased physical activity might reduce the number of hospital admissions. The direct health care costs for Australia of physical inactivity were estimated…