There is increased recognition that determinants of health should be investigated in a life-course perspective. Retirement is a major transition in the life course and offers opportunities for changes in physical activity that may improve health in the aging population. The authors examined the effect of retirement on changes in physical activity in the GLOBE Study, a prospective cohort study known by the Dutch acronym for "Health and Living Conditions of the Population of Eindhoven and surroundings," 1991-2004. They followed respondents (n = 971) by postal questionnaire who were employed and aged 40-65 years in 1991 for 13 years, after which they were still employed (n = 287) or had retired (n = 684). Physical activity included 1) work-related transportation, 2) sports participation, and 3) nonsports leisure-time physical activity. Multinomial logistic regression analyses indicated that retirement was associated with a significantly higher odds for a decline in physical activity from work-related transportation (odds ratio (OR) = 3.03, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.97, 4.65), adjusted for sex, age, marital status, chronic diseases, and education, compared with remaining employed. Retirement was not associated with an increase in sports participation (OR = 1.12, 95% CI: 0.71, 1.75) or nonsports leisure-time physical activity (OR = 0.80, 95% CI: 0.54, 1.19). In conclusion, retirement introduces a reduction in physical activity from work-related transportation that is not compensated for by an increase in sports participation or an increase in nonsports leisure-time physical activity.
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