Title of Oral/Poster Presentation

Preventative Health Behaviors of Older Americans

Presenter Information

Ashley KelleyFollow
Yoon LeeFollow

Class

Article

Department

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Faculty Mentor

Yoon Lee

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Abstract

Using the 2008 Health and Retirement Study (HRS), this study examined preventive health behaviors of older individuals aged 65 and above, while identifying the demographic characteristics of older Americans who are more likely to demonstrate preventive health behaviors. To measure preventive health behavior, this study utilized the following questions in the HRS data files: 1) having a blood test for cholesterol in previous year; 2) visiting a physician in previous year; 3) not-smoking cigarettes. The descriptive results show that female older individuals were more likely to exhibit all three of the preventative health behaviors than males aged 65 and above. Those with preventive health behaviors reported higher levels of socio-economic status such as higher household net worth and higher educational attainment than those without preventive health behaviors. In addition, the level of mental health problems was higher for those without preventive health behaviors than those with preventive health behaviors. The results of the logistic regression analysis indicate that all else being equal, having higher net worth, having chronic illness, having poor perceived health, having employer sponsored health insurance, and being female significantly increased the likelihood of older individuals having a cholesterol test. The logit results also reveal that as the levels of net worth and education increased, older individuals were more likely to visit a physician, but less likely to smoke. These findings could be advantageous to consumer educators, aging specialists, financial counselors, and policy makers because these professionals would be more capable of targeting at-risk individuals and implementing necessary programs that could enhance the financial and physical well-being of individuals in their old age. To prevent increased strain on these programs or increased taxes, policy makers should also be familiar with older individuals who do not demonstrate preventive health behaviors, such as those profiled in this study.

Start Date

4-9-2015 1:30 PM

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Apr 9th, 1:30 PM

Preventative Health Behaviors of Older Americans

Using the 2008 Health and Retirement Study (HRS), this study examined preventive health behaviors of older individuals aged 65 and above, while identifying the demographic characteristics of older Americans who are more likely to demonstrate preventive health behaviors. To measure preventive health behavior, this study utilized the following questions in the HRS data files: 1) having a blood test for cholesterol in previous year; 2) visiting a physician in previous year; 3) not-smoking cigarettes. The descriptive results show that female older individuals were more likely to exhibit all three of the preventative health behaviors than males aged 65 and above. Those with preventive health behaviors reported higher levels of socio-economic status such as higher household net worth and higher educational attainment than those without preventive health behaviors. In addition, the level of mental health problems was higher for those without preventive health behaviors than those with preventive health behaviors. The results of the logistic regression analysis indicate that all else being equal, having higher net worth, having chronic illness, having poor perceived health, having employer sponsored health insurance, and being female significantly increased the likelihood of older individuals having a cholesterol test. The logit results also reveal that as the levels of net worth and education increased, older individuals were more likely to visit a physician, but less likely to smoke. These findings could be advantageous to consumer educators, aging specialists, financial counselors, and policy makers because these professionals would be more capable of targeting at-risk individuals and implementing necessary programs that could enhance the financial and physical well-being of individuals in their old age. To prevent increased strain on these programs or increased taxes, policy makers should also be familiar with older individuals who do not demonstrate preventive health behaviors, such as those profiled in this study.