Background: To identify levels of physical inactivity and smoking and examine their relationships to health among older people in India. Methods. In 2010, Longitudinal Aging Study in India researchers interviewed 1,683 older adults in randomly sampled households with members aged ≥ 45 years in eight stratified districts in four states (90.9% response rate). We first used descriptive analyses to characterize older people in poor and good health. Differences between groups were established using chi-squared and t-tests. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were then performed to determine whether physical inactivity and smoking led to poor health while controlling for district of residence, caste, age, gender, marital status, and educational level. Regression analyses were also used to identify significant relationships between socio-demographic characteristics and health behaviors. Results: Larger proportions of older people in poor health were smokers (26.1% vs. 16.9%; p ≤ 0.001) and physically inactive (vigorous activities: 88.7% vs. 70.7%, p ≤ 0.001; moderate activities: 67.1% vs. 57.1%, p ≤ 0.01). Smoking (p ≤ 0.05) and lack of vigorous physical activity (p ≤ 0.001) increased the likelihood of poor health. Low educational level was significantly related to smoking and the lack of moderate physical activity (both p ≤ 0.001). Female gender decreased the likelihood of smoking. Male gender increased the likelihood of vigorous physical activity but decreased the likelihood of moderate physical activity. Conclusions: Smoking and physical inactivity have important impacts on the health of older people in India. Policy attention is needed to improve these modifiable health behaviors.

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doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-14-526, hdl.handle.net/1765/72088
BMC Public Health
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Cramm, J., & Lee, J. (2014). Smoking, physical activity and healthy aging in India. BMC Public Health, 14(1). doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-526