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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Healthy Lifestyle in Old Age Shortens End-of-Life Disability, Says BU

Leading a healthy lifestyle not only extends one’s lifespan, but it shortens the time that is spent disabled, says an analysis led by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher and colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

The study, published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, revealed that older adults with the healthiest lifestyles could expect to spend about 1.7 fewer years disabled at the end of their lives, compared to their unhealthiest counterparts. The study is online and scheduled for

“This clearly demonstrates the great value of investing in the promotion of a healthy lifestyle and encouraging people to maintain healthy behaviors into old age,” said lead author Dr. Mini Jacob, a postdoctoral associate at the BUSPH Health & Disabilities Research Institute who completed the project during her doctoral studies at Pittsburgh Public Health.

“We are not discounting the role of factors like income and chronic conditions, which we adjusted for in our analyses,” Dr. Jacob said. “However, our results do indicate that increasing obesity levels of older Americans can herald a disability epidemic, and by urging healthy lifestyles, we may still be able to reduce the public health burden due to disability as more adults reach old age.”

To read more about the study, go to: