Association of Accelerometer-Measured Physical Activity With Leukocyte Telomere Length Among Older Women.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


The journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences (2017)


Background: Previous studies on physical activity and telomere length have relied largely upon self-reported physical activity data, and few studies have examined older adults. The association of objectively measured physical activity with leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is currently unknown.

Methods: In this study, we examined cross-sectional associations between accelerometer-measured total, light, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and LTL, measured using Southern blot. The sample included 1,405 older (64-95 years old) white and African American women from the Women's Health Initiative. Multiple linear regression models adjusting for potential confounders were used to determine the association between accelerometer-measured physical activity and LTL.

Results: Overall, the mean (standard deviation) of total, light, and moderate-to-vigorous activity was 5.5 (1.6), 4.7 (1.3), and 0.8 (0.5) h/d, respectively. Adjusting for accelerometer wear time, age, race/ethnicity, education, marital status, smoking, alcohol, body mass index, a history of chronic diseases, and hormone therapy use, LTL was 80 (95% confidence interval: 9, 150) base pairs longer among women with ≥2.5 compared with <2.5 h/wk of MVPA. Light activity was not significantly associated with LTL. For total activity, the most physically active women had significantly longer LTL than the least active women after adjustment for demographic and lifestyle characteristics; however, findings were not significant after further adjustment for health-related factors.

Conclusions: Older women meeting current recommendations of ≥2.5 h/wk of MVPA, as assessed by accelerometer, had longer LTL. Additional studies using accelerometers in large, diverse cohorts of older women are needed to confirm and extend these findings.