Physical activity and glucose tolerance in elderly men: The Zutphen Elderly study

Rob M Van Dam, A.J. Schuit, Edith J M Feskens, Jaap C Seidell, Daan Kromhout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)
68 Downloads (Pure)



To determine whether physical activity is associated with glucose tolerance in the elderly.


We examined current and 5-yr change in physical activity in relation to glucose tolerance in 424 randomly selected male inhabitants of the Dutch town Zutphen, aged 69-89 yr, without known diabetes mellitus. Physical activity was assessed by a validated questionnaire designed for retired men. Glucose intolerance was assessed by an oral glucose tolerance test and defined as impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes mellitus.


Men with 30 min x d(-1) or more of physical activity of at least moderate intensity had a lower prevalence of glucose intolerance as compared to men without these activities (age-adjusted odds ratio 0.32; 95% CI, 0.18-0.57). Adjustment for family history of diabetes, smoking, alcohol intake, dietary factors, body mass index, and subscapular skin-fold thickness or exclusion of men with cardiovascular diseases or disabilities did not substantially change the results. With specific activities modeled simultaneously, bicycling (P for trend = 0.01) and gardening (P for trend = 0.02) were inversely associated with glucose intolerance. Men whose amount of physical activity had decreased during the past 5 yr had significantly higher age-adjusted 2-h glucose concentrations as compared with men who remained at least as active (difference 0.7 mmol x L(-1); 95% CI, 0.1-1.3).


These findings suggest that common types of physical activity such as bicycling and gardening may contribute to the prevention of glucose intolerance in elderly men

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1132-1136
JournalMedicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Glucose
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise
  • Glucose Intolerance
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • Odds Ratio
  • Physical Fitness
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.


Dive into the research topics of 'Physical activity and glucose tolerance in elderly men: The Zutphen Elderly study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this