Health practices that predict recovery from functional limitations in older adults.
Lee, Y; Park, KH
American journal of preventive medicine, 31(1):25-31, 2006
American journal of preventive medicine
BACKGROUND: Although previous studies show the benefits of certain health behaviors in reducing physical disability in older people, their effects on functional limitation, an antecedent of disability, are not well established. This study aims to identify health behavioral practices that affect recovery from functional limitations in older adults.
METHODS: A total of 312 community-dwelling adults aged 65 and older with functional limitations were examined in 2002 for functional recovery in 2003. Functional limitations were measured by self-reports of difficulty performing upper- and lower-body movements. Positive health practices included regular physical activity, normal body mass index (BMI), periodic medical checkups, and moderate alcohol consumption. Logistic regression models were fitted to identify individual as well as combined health practices that predict functional recovery, adjusting for sociodemographic and health-related covariates.
RESULTS: Although each of the positive health practices was significantly associated with functional recovery in the bivariate analyses, only physical activity continued to be a strong independent predictor in the multivariate analysis. The likelihood of functional recovery tended to increase with the number of health practices adopted by the elderly. Physical activity, in combination with normal BMI, proved to be one of the most influential health practice profiles, resulting in a high percentage of functional recovery.
CONCLUSIONS: Health behaviors, especially physical activity, contribute to an older person's functional independence. The benefit of an increased number of health practices on recovery from functional limitations suggests that targeting multiple behavioral risks may help delay the onset of disability in later life.
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