Aim: Despite the predictive value of combined healthy lifestyles in maintaining physical and cognitive functioning in late life, little is known about the clustering patterns of healthy lifestyle behaviors in older people. The aim of the present study was to examine the prevalence, clustering and population characteristics of adherence to multiple health behaviors in community-dwelling older Korean adults.
Methods: The study population consisted of a nationally representative sample of 4165 Korean adults aged 65 years and older in 2006. Healthy lifestyles, defined as adherence to recommended guidelines, included non-smoking, no heavy drinking, physical activity and healthy weight. Combinations of behavioral patterns and prevalence odds ratios for pairwise clusters were analyzed. Multinomial logistic regression was used to identify demographic and health-related characteristics associated with the number of adherence to guideline recommendations.
Results: Those who adhered to all four guideline recommendations constituted the minority (11.7%). More women than men engaged in a higher number of healthy lifestyles. Clustering was more pronounced in men for whom no heavy alcohol drinking and physical activity centered around non-smoking. In women, clustering patterns were less obvious. Men, those with low levels of education, income and wealth, and the functionally impaired were less likely to adhere to multiple healthy lifestyles.
Conclusion: Clustering of healthy lifestyles, especially among older men, supports the potential benefit of a multiple behavior change approach. Health promotion efforts should target the socially disadvantaged and functionally compromised segment of the older population presenting low adherence to recommended behaviors. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2012; 12: 515–523.