Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology



First Advisor

Alessandra Adami


Background: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is defined as a progressive lung disease characterized by chronic inflammation and shortness of breath upon exertion. Individuals with COPD are characterized by having poor tolerance to effort and low level of daily physical activity (PA). The progression of changes in the latter is unclear, despite PA is one of the stronger predictors of survival in the COPD population. Aim: The overall aim of the current study was to quantify the 5-year change in PA level in a group of current and former smokers with and without COPD, and a small group of never smoker people, that were enrolled in the Muscle Health Study. Methods: Daily PA was determined after a week monitoring with triaxial accelerometry (Dynaport ADL monitor, McRoberts, NL). The numbers of steps per day and the vector magnitude units count (VMU) were utilized to define daily PA levels. The PROActive questionnaire was utilized to assess PA amount and difficulty for each day of monitoring. This cohort also underwent a series of clinical evaluations (e.g., pulmonary function, medical and smoking history, symptoms-related questionnaires) that were used to characterize participants. All parameters were collected at baseline and at follow-up (5 years after baseline) visits for the Muscle Health Study. Results: Of the 97 eligible individuals that successfully completed the study, 7 were never smokers (NS), 23 were smoker controls (CON), 3 belonged to the group called PRISm (i.e., preserved ratio impaired spirometry), 33 were COPD (GOLD 1/2/3/4 = 15/10/5/3). All COPD groups showed decreases in steps per day (828 ± 1466) and VMU (94 ± 89) between baseline and follow-up; where the mild (steps: 935 ± 1314; VMU: 160 ± 90) and the severe (steps: 2989 ± 154; VMU: 130 ± 84) patients showed the greatest declines overall.

Conclusion: In five years, independently on the presence of COPD, physical activity significantly decreased in older individuals with a history of smoking. Individuals with severe lung obstruction were significantly inactive compared to our smokers with normal spirometry controls. Similarly, patients with moderate to severe COPD showed the most significant drop in PA (N.S.) in five years. These findings suggest that, despite our regression did not show at this time a strong relationship, lung function might play an important role in decreasing PA in current or former smokers with COPD.



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