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Weather, day length and physical activity in older adults: Cross-sectional results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Norfolk Cohort

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Yu-Tzu WuORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2017 Wu et al.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.Background A wide range of environmental factors have been related to active ageing, but few studies have explored the impact of weather and day length on physical activity in older adults. We investigate the cross-sectional association between weather conditions, day length and activity in older adults using a population-based cohort in England, the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Norfolk study. Methods Physical activity was measured objectively over 7 days using an accelerometer and this was used to calculate daily total physical activity (counts per minute), daily minutes of sedentary behaviour and light, moderate and vigorous physical activity (LMVPA). Day length and two types of weather conditions, precipitation and temperature, were obtained from a local weather station. The association between these variables and physical activity was examined by multilevel first-order autoregressive modelling. Results After adjusting for individual factors, short day length and poor weather conditions, including high precipitation and low temperatures, were associated with up to 10% lower average physical activity (p<0.01) and 8 minutes less time spent in LMVPA but 15 minutes more sedentary time, compared to the best conditions. Conclusion Day length and weather conditions appear to be an important factor related to active ageing. Future work should focus on developing potential interventions to reduce their impact on physical activity behaviours in older adults.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wu Y-T, Luben R, Wareham N, Griffin S, Jones AP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: PLoS ONE

Year: 2017

Volume: 12

Issue: 5

Online publication date: 31/05/2017

Acceptance date: 03/05/2017

Date deposited: 28/05/2020

ISSN (electronic): 1932-6203

Publisher: Public Library of Science


DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0177767

PubMed id: 28562613


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Funder referenceFunder name
work was undertaken under the auspices of the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), a UKCRC Public Health Research Centre of Excellence which is funded by the ...
... British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council, the National Institute for Health Research, and the Wellcome Trust
funded by the Medical Research Council (Grant Number: G0401527;