Prevalence of multiple behavioral risk factors for chronic diseases in adults aged 50+, from eleven European countries - the SHARE study (2004)

Prev Med. 2013 Sep;57(3):168-72. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.05.008. Epub 2013 May 22.


Objective: To estimate the prevalence and the associations between multiple behavioral risk factors (MBRFs) for chronic diseases in European adults.

Method: Data from 26,743 individuals, aged 50+years, participating in the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) (2004/05) were used. MBRFs included physical inactivity, high body weight, smoking habits and risky alcohol consumption. Estimations were based on weights according to the complex sampling design.

Results: In total, 71.2% of individuals were physically inactive, while 59.8% had high body weight. 53.4% had 2+ MBRFs, while males presented higher prevalence of MBRF clusters than females (P < 0.001). Females displayed lower odds of increased alcohol consumption (OR = 0.16, P < 0.001) and higher odds of physical inactivity (OR = 1.47, P < 0.001) than males. Individuals who lived alone, compared to living with a partner and those with more, compared to fewer education years, exhibited a significantly higher and lower, respectively, mean MBRF score (P < 0.001).

Conclusion: The prevalence of MBRFs was considerably high in this sample of European adults, while not living alone and having higher education may prove protective. These findings could be used for the design of primary healthcare programs by health professionals.

Keywords: Behavioral risk factors; Chronic diseases; Prevalence.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Chronic Disease / psychology*
  • Educational Status
  • Europe
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*