Author(s): Ford J, Spallek M, Dobson A
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: to test the hypothesis that morbidity and health related behavioural factors are stronger than social factors as predictors of death among older women. METHODS: we used data from 12,422 participants in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health who were aged 70-75 in 1996. Proportional hazards models of survival up to 31 October 2005 were fitted separately for the whole cohort and those women who were initially in 'good health'. RESULTS: among the whole cohort, 18.7\% died during the follow_up period. The strongest predictor of death was 'poor' or 'fair' self-rated health (with 52.3\% and 28.0\%, respectively, of women in these categories dying). Among the women in 'good health' at baseline 11.5\% died, with current cigarette smoking (hazard ratio HR = 2.19, 95\% confidence interval (1.71, 2.81), physical inactivity (HR = 1.45 (1.17, 1.81)), and age (HR = 1.10 (1.04, 1.16) per year) as statistically significant predictors of death. DISCUSSION: among older women, current health and health related behaviours are stronger predictors than social factors of relatively early mortality. Adopting a healthier lifestyle, by doing more exercise and not smoking, is beneficial even in old age.
This article was published in Age Ageing
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research