The journal of nutrition, health & aging

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 476–482 | Cite as

Smoking Predicting Physical Activity in an Aging America

  • James H. Swan
  • J. M. Brooks
  • R. Amini
  • A. R. Moore
  • K. W. Turner



Tobacco smoking and physical inactivity are among leading behavioral risk factors for ill health in older adults. This study considers how smoking is associated with physical activity.


Using a Life-Course model, data are analyzed regarding this relationship, controlling for, and interacted with, lifecourse and other factors. Daily smokers and sometimes smokers were hypothesized to engage in less leisuretime physical activity than those who never smoked, while those who stopped smoking were expected to do more than never smokers. Analyses were performed using SAS-Callable SUDAAN.

Setting and Participants

Secondary data from ten years of a national sample of adults aged 18 and over of the National Health Interview Survey, 2001-2010, are used (N = 264,945, missing data excluded, of 282,313 total cases).


Daily smokers, occasional smokers, and smoking quitters are compared to never smokers with regard to requisite physical activity (150 minutes per week of moderate, 100 of vigorous, and/or 50 of strengthening activity). Lifecourse measures include birth cohorts, age, and year of survey, as well as gender, race/ethnicity, and education.


Overall, hypotheses are supported regarding daily smokers and quitters; but the hypothesis is strongly rejected among sometimes smokers, who are much more likely to do requisite physical activity. Findings differ by age, sometimes smokers age 65 and over being less likely to do physical activity. Findings among all men are similar to the overall findings, while those among all women are similar to those for older respondents. Associations of smoking status with physical activity vary greatly by race/ethnicity.


Daily smokers may be most in need of both smoking cessation and leisure-time physical activity interventions. Smokingcessation efforts may pay greater physical activity benefits among women and the aged, while smoking-reduction efforts may provide better outcomes among men. Smoking reduction efforts may pay more exercise benefits among African-Americans and Hispanics.

Key words

Smoking physical activity life-course aging 


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Copyright information

© Serdi and Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • James H. Swan
    • 1
  • J. M. Brooks
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. Amini
    • 3
  • A. R. Moore
    • 4
  • K. W. Turner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Rehabilitation & Health ServicesUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryDartmouth CollegeLebanonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Public Health & Health SciencesUniversity of Michigan-FlintFlintUSA
  4. 4.Department of SociologyUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA

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