Associations among healthy habits, age, gender, and education in a sample of retirees

J. Paul Leigh, James F. Fries

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Healthy and unhealthy habits may be as or more important than access to medical care as variables that predict morbidity and monality. Cigarette use, lack of exercise, excessive alcohol use, lack of fiber, and excess fat in the diet have been linked to every major chronic disease [1, 2] and seat belt use has been linked to automobile crash deaths—the most frequent death-producing injury [3]. Yet, despite the research attention toward linking habits to disease and injury, little, by is research was supported in part by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (AM21393) to ARAMIS (American Rheumatism Association Medical Information System), comparison, has been directed toward the correlates of the habits themselves. This is unfortunate. If policy variables, such as the level of education in the population, can be linked to habits, and if causality can be assumed to run from education to habits, then national efforts to raise education and awareness levels can be viewed as preventive medicine. The first purpose of this exploratory study is to investigate the association between education and habits. Since the data are derived from observation, as are virtually all large samples of people, causality cannot be demonstrated. But correlations can suggest where experimental studies and theory construction might be most useful. It is not always possible to demonstrate causal relations with data on human behavior. Within social science, for example, randomized trials have never been conducted to prove that a college education will increase a person’s IQ. A literature search did not uncover any studies which investigated education and habits in a senior sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHealth and Healthcare Utilization in Later Life
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781351852944
ISBN (Print)089503168X, 9780415785259
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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