A healthy lifestyle in old age and prospective change in four domains of functioning

Marjolein Visser, Hanneke A. H. Wijnhoven, Hannie C. Comijs, Fleur G. C. F. Thomése, Jos W. R. Twisk, Dorly J. H. Deeg

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Objective: The aim of this article is to study the associations between healthy lifestyle in old age and decline in physical, psychological, cognitive, and social functioning. Method: A population-based sample of 3,107 Dutch men and women aged 55 and 85 years (1992/1993; Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam) was used with five 3-yeary follow-up examinations. Lifestyle score, based on smoking status, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and body mass index (BMI), ranged from 0 (unhealthy) to 4 (healthy). Outcomes included gait speed, depressive symptoms, cognitive status, and social contacts. Results: Persons with a healthy lifestyle had a 10.6% slower decline in gait speed (0.04 m/s, 95% confidence interval [CI] = [0.03, 0.05]), 10.8% slower increase in depressive symptoms (–1.07 [–1.70, –0.44]), a 1.8% slower decline in cognitive functioning (0.47 [0.23, 0.70]), and a 4.9% slower decline in social contacts (0.58 [0.01, 1.15]) compared with persons with no or one healthy lifestyle factor. Discussion: A healthy lifestyle benefits physical, psychological, cognitive, and social functioning up to very old age.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1297-1314
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Issue number7
Early online date1 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019

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