Background: The significance of physical activity has been noticed. However, the dynamic change and the heterogeneity of physical activity patterns among older people are little explored. Purpose: This study aimed to identify the trajectory patterns of engaging in physical activity over time and its related factors. Method: Nationally representative four-wave panel data from Taiwanese older adults, gathered between 1996 and 2007, were used (n = 4,018). The participants ranged in age from 50 to 96 years old. “Being physically active” was defined as performing physical activity in sports or exercises at least three times per week and lasting for at least 30 min each time. Group-based trajectory analysis was performed for analyzing the data. Results: Four trajectory patterns were identified: inactive (47.83 %), decreasing (12.21 %), increasing (23.36 %), and active (16.60 %). Older respondents and those with more education were more likely to be active. Those respondents having more depressive symptoms, having more physical functional limitations, and having jobs were less likely to be physically active in the decreasing, increasing, and active patterns. Conclusion: There is heterogeneity among the trajectory patterns of physical activity across time in the older adults. Different strategies of physical activity promotion for the older people should be developed by the group characteristics.
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