Physical activity good for disability

Evidence that it improves quality of life

The evidence is clear. Physical activity is good for people living with disability.

Whilst it may seem like a no-brainer, the study reported here provides solid evidence that health-related quality of life (HRQoL*) improves with physical activity.

Expectedly, the study showed that HRQoL is lower for people living with disability compared with the general population anyway.

*HRQoL covers physical, mental, social and spiritual aspects thus providing a balanced measure of quality of life.

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Background: Any form of long-term physical or mental impairment might negatively influence health-related quality of life (HRQoL). HRQoL, as an independent concept, covers a wide range of characteristics that includes physical, mental, social, and spiritual functions. People with disabilities are continuously exposed to multiple barriers that deteriorate their HRQoL. It also creates impairment in performing physical activities. However, experts opine regular physical exercise as an intervention to help disabled people. This research aims to investigate the association between disability and physical activity with HRQoL among the adult population in Australia.

Design: A retrospective cohort study.

Methods: This study utilized the most recent 19 waves of data (2002-2020) from the nationally representative Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. Component summary scores such as physical component summary (PCS) and mental component summary (MCS), and SF-6D utility scores were utilized to measure HRQoL. Random-effects GLS regression technique was fitted to estimate the association between disability and physical activity with HRQoL, after adjusting for a range of socio-demographic and health-related characteristics.

Results: Disability was negatively associated with the PCS (-5.95), MCS (-2.70) and SF-6D (-0.060) compared with non-disabled counterparts. However, respondents engaged in the recommended level of physical activity had substantial gain in PCS (b = 0.96), MCS (1.57), and SF-6D (0.021) scores. Besides, the results showed that performing the recommended level of physical activity in the presence of disability has lessen the negative effect of disability/ positive moderating effect of physical activity on PCS, MCS, and SF-6D scores by 1.84 points, 0.82 points, and 0.013 percentage points, respectively.

Conclusion: This study found an inverse association between disability and HRQoL among Australian adults. However, physical activity was associated with improved HRQoL. Therefore, public health interventions, such as the orientation of physical activities, have a higher potential to dwindle the burden regarding HRQoL.

SOURCE:  PLoS One. 2022 May 12;17(5):e0268304.  doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0268304. eCollection 2022. PMID: 35552556

Disability, physical activity, and health-related quality of life in Australian adults: An investigation using 19 waves of a longitudinal cohort

Syed Afroz Keramat 1 2 3Benojir Ahammed 4Aliu Mohammed 5Abdul-Aziz Seidu 6 7Fariha Farjana 1Rubayyat Hashmi 2 8Kabir Ahmad 2Rezwanul Haque 2Sazia Ahmed 1Mohammad Afshar Ali 2 9 10Bright Opoku Ahinkorah 11

1 Economics Discipline, Social Science School, Khulna University, Khulna, Bangladesh.

2 School of Business, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, QLD, Australia.

3 Centre for Health Services Research, University of Queensland, Brisbane Australia.

4 Statistics Discipline, Science, Engineering, Technology School, Khulna University, Khulna, Bangladesh.

5 Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana.

6 Centre For Gender and Advocacy, Takoradi Technical University, Takoradi, Ghana.

7 College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville Australia.

8 QUT Business School, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.

9 Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre (QUMPRC), Clinical and Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia.

10 Department of Economics, Jagannath University, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

11 School of Public Health, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia.

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