- •The type of social activity is important in the context of healthy behaviours.
- •Participation in multiple social activities leads to engagement in healthy behaviours.
- •Our findings suggest the importance of both the type and the number of social activities.
To examine the longitudinal association between participation in social activities and healthy lifestyle behaviours.
This 2-year follow-up study used data from 6168 older adults (73.5 ± 5.3 years; 49% men). We studied participation in five types of social activities at baseline: participation in volunteer, sports, hobbies, senior clubs, and neighbourhood-association groups.
Main outcome measures
The healthy lifestyle behaviours were physical activity (time spent walking: ≥150 min/week; or less), eating habits (dietary variety score: ≥4 points; or less), and intellectual activity (subcomponents of the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology Index of Competence: 4 points; or less).
In the follow-up survey, 19% of participants were physically inactive, 53% had unfavourable eating habits, and 34% had diminished intellectual activity. Multilevel modified Poisson regression analysis showed that participation in sports groups was associated with a lower relative risk (RR) of physical inactivity (RR=0.82 [0.72, 0.93]) and unfavourable eating habits (RR=0.95 [0.90, 1.00]). Participation in hobby groups reduced the RR of unfavourable eating habits (RR=0.93 [0.90, 0.97]) and diminished intellectual activity (RR=0.90 [0.85, 0.96]). Participation in volunteering was associated with a lower RR of diminished intellectual activity (RR=0.84 [0.75, 0.95]). Relative to non-participation, participating in two or more social activities was associated with a 9% (95% CI: 0.83, 1.00) lower RR for physical inactivity, a 12% (95% CI: 0.82, 0.95) lower RR for unfavourable eating habits, and a 17% (95% CI: 0.77, 0.89) lower RR for diminished intellectual activity.
Both the nature and the number of social activities determine the longitudinal effects of social participation on healthy lifestyle behaviours.
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Published online: October 09, 2021
Accepted: October 7, 2021
Received in revised form: September 21, 2021
Received: April 14, 2021
© 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.