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Associations between local area deprivation and physical activity participation in people with cognitive impairment in the North East of England

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ríona McArdle, Dr Calum Hamilton, Dr Silvia Del DinORCiD, Dr Andrew KingstonORCiD, Dr Louise Robinson, Dr Brook Galna, Professor Alan ThomasORCiD, Professor Lynn RochesterORCiD



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


Introduction: Promoting physical activity, such as habitual walking behaviours, in people with cognitive impairment may support their ability to remain independent with a good quality of life for longer. However, people with cognitive impairment participate in less physical activity compared to cognitively unimpaired older adults. The local area in which people live may significantly impact abilities to participate in physical activity. For example, people who live in more deprived areas may have less safe and walkable routes. Objective: To examine this further, this study aimed to explore associations between local area deprivation and physical activity in people with cognitive impairment and cognitively unimpaired older adults (controls). Methods: 87 participants with cognitive impairment (Mild Cognitive Impairment or dementia) and 27 older adult controls from the North East of England were included in this analysis. Participants wore a tri-axial wearable accelerometer (AX3, Axivity) on their lower backs continuously for seven days. The primary physical activity outcome was daily step count. Individuals’ neighbourhoods were linked to UK government area deprivation statistics. Hierarchical Bayesian models assessed the association between local area deprivation and daily step count in people with cognitive impairment and controls. Results: Key findings indicated that there was no association between local area deprivation and daily step count in people with cognitive impairment, but higher deprivation was associated with lower daily steps for controls. Conclusions: These findings suggest that cognitive impairment may be associated with lower participation in physical activity which supersedes the influence of local area deprivation observed in normal ageing.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mc Ardle R, Hamilton C, Del Din S, Kingston A, Robinson L, Galna B, Thomas AJ, Rochester L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Alzheimer's Disease

Year: 2023

Volume: 95

Issue: 1

Pages: 265-273

Online publication date: 29/08/2023

Acceptance date: 21/06/2023

Date deposited: 22/06/2023

ISSN (print): 1387-2877

ISSN (electronic): 1875-8908

Publisher: IOS Press


DOI: 10.3233/JAD-230358


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Funder referenceFunder name
Alzheimer’s Society [ADSTC2014007]
Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre based at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University [BH152398/PD0617]
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) fellowship (NIHR 301677)
Northumberland and Tyne and Wear (CNTW) NHS Foundation Trust
NIHR Research Capability Funding (NU004071) for North East and North Cumbria