Lifestyle behaviours and quality-adjusted life years in middle and older age

Age Ageing. 2011 Sep;40(5):589-95. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afr058. Epub 2011 May 26.


Objective: to examine the relationship between combined lifestyle behaviours and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) in a general population.

Methods: a population-based study was conducted in 13,358 men and women who participated in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC)-Norfolk (baseline 1993-97). A score of 1 was given to each of non-smoking, physically not inactive, moderate alcohol consumption (1-14 units) and consumption of at least five portions of fruit and vegetables (vitamin C level ≥50 µmol/l). Short-Form Six-Dimension (SF-6D) health utility index scores were derived from the SF-36. QALYs were estimated up to follow-up (July 2007).

Results: a total of 13,358 men and women were eligible to be included in the study (aged 40-79 years at baseline). A total of 12,921 people were alive at follow-up (117, 784 person-years). Mean follow-up period was ∼11.5 years. 437 (4.4% of men and 2.4% of women) died. The death rate was 6.5 times higher in people with health behaviour score 0 compared with those who scored 4 (8.4 versus 1.3%). People with higher scores had significantly higher QALYs.

Conclusion: our findings support the view that modifiable lifestyle factors are an important component in health improvement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aging*
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Diet / adverse effects
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy*
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years*
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vegetables