Objective: To examine the relationships among health behaviors in older persons and whether they form related groups of behaviors. Method: Health behaviors (physical activity, alcohol use, nutrition, weight stability, and smoking) were analyzed using factor analysis in two representative samples of two cohorts of Israeli older persons aged 75 to 94. Data collection was conducted during 1989-1992 for the first cohort (N = 1,200) and during 2000-2002 for the second (N = 421). Results: Four factors of health behaviors were found mostly unrelated: (a) physical activity and weight stability, (b) alcohol use, (c) smoking, and (d) nutrition. Discussion: The analysis enables identification of underlying health-behavior dimensions in an understudied population. Furthermore, the findings have important implications for health-promotion policy, indicating that prevention and health-promotion programs for older persons should target each health behavior, and not assume that the practice of any health behavior implies a healthy overall lifestyle in this population.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Life-span and Life-course Studies