Personal health practices and mortality among the elderly

Am J Public Health. 1984 Oct;74(10):1126-9. doi: 10.2105/ajph.74.10.1126.


Research on young and middle-aged adults has demonstrated a correlation between certain personal health practices and reduced mortality. This investigation examines the generalizability of these findings to elders who have survived into their seventh and eighth decades. Using data from the Massachusetts Health Care Panel Study, we examined the association of physical activity, cigarette smoking, hours of sleep, alcohol consumption, and number of meals with five-year mortality rates. For elderly women, never having smoked cigarettes is the only personal health practice that achieves a statistically significant multivariate relationship with lower mortality. None of the personal health practices are related significantly to mortality among elderly men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged*
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Mortality*
  • Physical Exertion
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Factors
  • Sleep
  • Smoking
  • Time Factors