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J Aging Res. 2012;2012:501072. doi: 10.1155/2012/501072. Epub 2012 Aug 30.

Relationships between Social Resources and Healthful Behaviors across the Age Spectrum.

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  • 1Obesity Prevention Program, Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Background. We examined cross-sectional relationships of social resources with health behaviors in adults ages 18-93 years. Methods. Baseline data from a 2009 risk behavior intervention trial were used to measure social resources, physical activity, and fruit and vegetable intake in 2,440 adults. To evaluate associations overall and within 4 age groups (18-34, 35-49, 50-64, and 65-93 y), we used multivariable regression. Results. Mean (SD) age was 49.4 (15) years, physical activity was 346 (304) minutes/week, and fruit and vegetable intake was 3.4 (2.4) servings/day. Mean social resource score was 1.2 (0-4 scale) in 18-34 year olds, 1.1 in all other age groups (P = 0.04). In multivariable models, for each one-point increment in social resource score, the odds ratio for getting 150-959 minutes of physical activity/wk (compared to <150 min/wk) was 3.7 (95% CI 3.0-4.6). Each one-point increment in score was also associated with 29% (95% CI: 23-35%) more servings of fruit and vegetables. We did not observe effect modification by age group. Conclusions. Although younger adults reported slightly higher resources than older adults, the magnitude of association between social resources and healthful behaviors did not differ between them.

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