Ten Dimensions of Health and Their Relationships with Overall Self-Reported Health and Survival in a Predominately Religiously Active Elderly Population: The Cache County Memory Study

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Journal of the American Geriatrics Society







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OBJECTIVES: To document the extent of healthy aging along 10 different dimensions in a population known for its longevity. DESIGN: A cohort study with baseline measures of overall self-reported health and health along 10 specific dimensions; analyses investigated the 10 dimensions as predictors of self-reported health and 10-year mortality. SETTING: Cache County, Utah, which is among the areas with the highest conditional life expectancy at age 65 in the United States. PARTICIPANTS: Inhabitants of Cache County aged 65 and older (January 1, 1995). MEASUREMENTS: Self-reported overall health and 10 specific dimensions of healthy aging: independent living, vision, hearing, activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, absence of physical illness, cognition, healthy mood, social support and participation, and religious participation and spirituality. RESULTS: This elderly population was healthy overall. With few exceptions, 80% to 90% of persons aged 65 to 75 were healthy according to each measure used. Prevalence of excellent and good self-reported health decreased with age, to approximately 60% in those aged 85 and older. Even in the oldest old, the majority of respondents were independent in activities of daily living. Although vision, hearing, and mood were significant predictors of overall self-reported health in the final models, age, sex, and cognition were significant only in the final survival models. CONCLUSION: This population has a high prevalence of most factors representing healthy aging. The predictors of overall self-reported health are distinct from the predictors of survival in this age group and, being potentially modifiable, are amenable to clinical and public health efforts.


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