3006.1: Monday, November 13, 2000 - Board 3

Abstract #10157

Gender and age disparities in diet, weight status, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and heart disease among Massachusetts elders

Sarah McDonough Phillips, Family Medicine and Community Health, Tufts University, 136 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02111, 617-636-6957, smcdonou@emerald.tufts.edu, Ruth Palombo, MS, RD, Director, Office of Elder Health, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 250 Washington St, Boston, MA 02108, 617-624-5437, ruth.palombo@state.ma.us, and Daniel Brooks, MPH, Director, Chronic Disease Surveillance, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 250 Washington St, Boston, MA 02108.

The elderly, defined as those aged 60 years and older, are an extremely diverse group. Although elders are living longer and healthier, disparities still exist. Healthy lifestyle practices and use of preventive services can reduce premature morbidity and mortality and enhance overall quality of life. Data from the 1995-1998 Massachusetts Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), an annual, random, state-wide telephone survey, were used to examine nutritional and other lifestyle practices in relation to cardiovascular disease among 2,800 persons aged 60-79. Results showed age and gender differences in fruit and vegetable consumption, weight status, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and CHD prevalence. Elderly women consumed more fruits and vegetables, were less likely to be overweight, were less likely to be chronic drinkers, and were less likely to exercise regularly than elderly men. Age subgroup comparisons showed that men aged 60-69 were less likely to consume 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day (OR=0.24; 95% CI (0.16, 0.34)) and were more likely to be overweight or obese (OR=1.57; 95% CI (1.23, 2.01) than men aged 70-79. Women aged 60-69 were more likely to exercise regularly than women aged 70-79 (OR=1.64; 95% CI 1.23, 2.19) and there was a large increase in the prevalence of CHD between women aged 60-69 and women aged 70-79 (7.7% to 19.6%). Differences among subgroups have important implications for public policy. Understanding these disparities in modifiable health behaviors will help to tailor interventions more effectively and help elders live longer with a higher quality of life.

Learning Objectives: 1.Identify risk factors related to cardiovascular disease in the elderly. 2. Identify age group and gender differences in the distribution of risk factors among adults aged 60 and older. 3.Identify policy implications related to disparities in health behaviors and screening practices among adults aged 60 and older

Keywords: Aging, Risk Factors

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA