Active travel may be an easily achievable form of physical activity for older people especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), but there are currently no studies on how this form of physical activity is associated with a preclinical state of dementia known as mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Therefore, we aimed to investigate the association between active travel and MCI among adults aged ≥50 years from six LMICs. Cross-sectional, community-based data from the World Health Organization's Study on Global Ageing and Adult Health were analyzed. The definition of MCI was based on the National Institute on Ageing-Alzheimer's Association criteria. Active travel (minutes/week) was assessed with questions of the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ) and presented in tertiles. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was conducted to assess the association between active travel and MCI. Data on 32715 people aged ≥50 years (mean age 62.4 years; 52.1% females) were analyzed. Compared to the highest tertile of active travel, the lowest tertile was associated with 1.33 (95%CI = 1.14-1.54) times higher odds for MCI overall. This association was particularly pronounced among those aged ≥65 years (OR = 1.70; 95%CI = 1.32-2.19) but active travel was not associated with MCI among those aged 50-64 years. In conclusion, low levels of active travel were associated with a significantly higher odds of MCI in adults aged ≥65 years in LMICs. Promoting active travel among people of this age group in LMICs via tailored interventions and/or country-wide infrastructure investment to provide a safe environment for active travel may lead to a reduction in MCI and subsequent dementia.
- active travel
- older adults
- low- and middle-income countries
- mild cognitive impairment