142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Social Engagement, Health Status, and Wellness

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014

Keith Turner, PhD , Programs in Applied Gerontology, University of North Texas, Denton, TX
James H. Swan, PhD , Programs in Applied Gerontology, University of North Texas, Denton, TX
Jennifer Severance, PhD , Wellness Programs, Senior Citizen Services of Greater Tarrant County, Inc.,, Fort Worth, TX
Social engagement is central to the mission of senior centers.  Drawing on data for the year 2013 from senior centers (SCs) in an urban Texas county, we focus on health status and wellness activities as related to and index of social engagement at the SC, as well as other factors.  Self-reported health status was strongly related to social engagement, as well as frequency of attendance and to frequency of eating meals at the SC.  Health status was also higher for women, for married elders, and for minority elders, and lower for those aged 85 years and over.  Reports of increases in physical activity over the prior year were also related to social engagement at the SC but not to length or frequency of attendance.  Report of reducing calories or fat in diets was related to both social engagement and frequency of attendance.  These findings hold when controlled for non-SC factors such as physician recommendations to exercise and to control weight.  Interestingly, reports of trying to control weight were not related to the social engagement or attendance measures.  Overall, findings highlight the importance of social-engagement factors in efforts to pursue healthier lifestyles and in self-assessment of health status.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify predictors of efforts of SC attendees to engage in healthy lifestyles and of perceptions of their own health status SCs; Explain the importance of social engagement to such efforts.

Keyword(s): Nutrition, Behavioral Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: For more than a decade, I have been principle investigator in ongoing series of studies (some peer reviewed and published) on the personal characteristics, activities, perceived benefits, health status, and attitudes of individuals who participate in senior citizen centers. This study presentation is a continuation of that research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.