New Emerging Team: Gender differences in mobility: what we can learn about improving mobility in old age

2010 - 2016

Mission : Mobility, the ability to move through one's environment without assistance, is a fundamental feature of human functioning. However, mobility declines over time. Mobility disability is frequent after 50 years of age and is higher in women than in men of comparable age. Differences in mobility disability between older men and women are largely unexplained and increase with advancing age. In this research, we aim at better understanding the effects of sex (biological) and gender (social roles and identities) on mobility disability. We will assess the impact of potentially modifiable factors affecting mobility disability in later life. The most accepted factor is lack of physical exercise, but poverty, social isolation and living in violent environments or experiencing domestic violence seem also to increase the risk of mobility disability. These factors may act through biological pathways of inflammation and excessive response to stress or may induce an accumulation of chronic conditions. The objectives of this research program are: 1) to examine the impact of life experiences on mobility of men and women in old age; 2) to increase knowledge on gender specific stress and inflammation responses during aging; 3) to identify sex-specific associations between selected chronic conditions and mobility limitations. We will conduct a three year longitudinal study (questionnaire, tests for blood and saliva samples) of people between 65 and 74 years of age at four sites, two in Canada (Kingston, Ontario and Longueil, Quebec) and two in Latin America (Natal, Brazil; Manizales, Colombia). We will also examine mobility difficulty in national representative populations over 50 years collected in 70 countries as part of the 2001 World Health Survey. This will answer the research questions related to social roles and mobility disability. Our results will help to place mobility in old age as an important public health issue in Canada and in the international scene.

Financement :

Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada

Lieu :

Amérique du Sud
Haïti Brésil
Haïti Colombie

Intervenant :

ZUNZUNEGUI, Maria-Victoria — chercheuse

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