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Social Networks' Health Habits Over Life Course and Late-life Health Habits

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Objectives: In this study, we examined Japanese older adults' health habits (healthy diet, exercise, and nonsmoking) using 4 models: sensitive period, pathway, social mobility, and cumulative effects. Methods: A representative cross-sectional survey of people 65 years and older, living in Tokyo, produced 739 effective respondents. Health habits in social networks over the life course, at junior high school, age 20, and age 40, were measured through retrospective recall questions. Ordinary regression and logistic regression were used separately to analyze healthy diet and exercise/nonsmoking. Results: Regarding pathway effects, standardized coefficients of indirect health habits in social networks on late-life health habits were healthy diet = .073 (p < .05) and exercise = .125 (p < .001). Regarding social mobility effects, standardized coefficients of change to poorer health habits in social networks over the life course on late-life health habits, compared to maintaining healthy habits were healthy diet = -.121 (p < .01) and exercise e= -.235 (p < .05). Regarding cumulative effects, standardized coefficients of no exposure to better health habits in social networks over the life course were healthy diet = -0.103 (p < .01) and exercise = -.395 (p < .01). Conclusions: Three models – pathway, social mobility, and cumulative effects – may explain how healthy diet and exercise in social networks over the life course influence these health habits in later life.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute for Gerontology, J. F. Oberlin University, Tokyo, Japan;, Email: [email protected] 2: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Jissen Women's University, Tokyo, Japan 3: Graduate School of Urban Environment Sciences, Tokyo Metropolitan University, Tokyo, Japan 4: Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Tokushima University, Tokushima-shi, Japan 5: Institute for Future Engineering, Tokyo, Japan

Publication date: January 1, 2020

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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