Lifestyle Factors Associated with Risk of Admission to a Nursing Home

An Australian study has found that an unhealthy lifestyle is associated with a “marked increased risk” of admission to a nursing home. Smoking, sedentary behavior, sleep deficits, and general physical inactivity were among lifestyle factors linked to increased risk for nursing home admissions. One of the research fellows said such negative lifestyle factors “are associated with the development and progression of multiple common debilitating chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, chronic nephropathy, cancer, dementia and frailty.” Researchers analyzed data from more than 125,000 participants age 60 or older. Among the patients, 25% were considered low-risk, as in having the healthiest lifestyle. The unhealthiest, high-risk group comprised 14% of the sample, and just over 60% made up the medium-risk group. Overall, compared to those in the low-risk group, the risk for nursing home admission was 43% and 12% greater, respectively, for those in the high- and medium-risk groups. In the high-risk group, participants age 60 to 64 years had the highest risk admission at 95%. Researchers suggested their findings “could be a powerful motivator for many individuals to adopt or maintain a healthier lifestyle” and might also incentivize government investment in preventative health care and health promotion.

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