Government Agency Navigation

Activity Limitations

Narrative

Activity limitations are defined in different ways. One common definition is whether a person is able to perform physical tasks (e.g., walking up ten steps, standing for two hours, carrying a ten pound object), or engaging in social activities and recreation (e.g., going shopping, visiting friends, sewing, reading) without the assistance of another person or using special equipment.1 In 2007–2009, 32.8 percent of adults reported being limited in their ability to perform one or more of these common activities. Women were more likely than men to report being limited in their activities (37.2 versus 28.1 percent, respectively).

The percentage of adults reporting activity limitations increased with age among both men and women. Only 16.8 percent of women aged 18–24 years reported activity limitations, compared to 22.4 percent of those aged 25–44 years, 43.6 percent of women aged 45–64 years, and 67.9 percent of women aged 65 years and older. A similar pattern was observed among males, with a smaller proportion of younger men reporting limitations (11.3 and 16.9 percent of men aged 18–24 and 25–44 years, respectively) compared to those aged 45–64 and 65 years and older (34.7 and 56.3 percent, respectively).

Activity limitations among women varied by poverty level. About 45 percent of women with household incomes less than 200 percent of poverty reported an activity limitation, compared to 34.3 percent of women with household incomes of 200 percent or more of poverty. Some causes of activity limitations also varied by poverty status. For instance, women with household incomes below 100 percent of poverty were more likely to report that depression, anxiety, or other emotional problems caused activity limitations (16.7 percent), compared to women with household incomes of 100–199 percent and 200 percent or more of poverty (9.6 and 6.2 percent, respectively). The most common reported cause of activity limitations among women was arthritis (37.4 percent).

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. 2009 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Questionnaire: Adult Health Status and Limitations. Accessed 06/13/11.

Graphs

Data

Adults Aged 18 and Older with Activity Limitations,* by Age and Sex, 2007–2009
Age Group Percent of Adults
Female Male
*Activity limitations are defined as having difficulty performing certain physical, social, or recreational activities without the assistance of another person or using special equipment.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, 2007-2009. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Information Resource Center.
18-24 Years 16.8 11.3
25-44 Years 22.4 16.9
45-64 Years 43.6 34.7
65 Years and Older 67.9 56.3
Total 37.2 28.1
Women Aged 18 and Older with Activity Limitations,* by Selected Conditions and Poverty Status,** 2007–2009
Age Group Percent of Women with Activity Limitations
Less than 100% of Poverty 100-199% of Poverty 200% or More of Poverty Total
*Activity limitations are defined as having difficulty performing certain physical, social, or recreational activities without the assistance of another person or using special equipment.
**Poverty level, defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, was $21,954 for a family of four in 2009.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, 2007-2009. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Information Resource Center.
Arthritis/Rheumatism 39.4 39.3 35.3 37.4
Back and Neck Problems 28.9 25.1 27.2 26.0
Depression, Anxiety, and Emotional Problems 16.7 9.6 6.2 8.1
Vision Problems 5.2 4.2 2.2 3.2
Hearing Problems 2.1 1.8 1.2 1.5

Share this!

Downloads