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Prev Med. 1993 Jan;22(1):86-95.

Health practices and disability: some evidence from Alameda County.

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UCLA School of Public Health, Center for Health Promotion/Disease Prevention 90024.


With greater longevity people are increasingly concerned about how to avoid disability during their longer lives. Policy decisions concerning ways to extend health as well as life have become part of the nation's health agenda. Opportunity to examine that issue has arisen in the Alameda County Human Population Laboratory. Earlier studies there established seven health practices as risk factors for higher mortality: excessive alcohol consumption, smoking cigarettes, being obese, sleeping fewer or more than 7-8 hours, having very little physical activity, eating between meals, and not eating breakfast. Observation now reveals that, taking into account age, gender, physical health status, and social network index in 1965, the occurrence of disability was only about one-half as great among the cohort survivors in 1974 who reported good health practices in 1965 as among those with poor health practices; those with an intermediate level of health practices experienced about two-thirds the relative disability risk of those with poor health practices. Essentially similar relationships prevailed for the 1982/1983 survivors of the original (1965) cohort who, upon requestioning, had been found to be without disability in 1974.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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