Little is known on how lifestyle factors, individually or in combination, may relate to nursing home admission, an outcome of great societal and economic importance with increased population ageing. The aim of this study was to determine the association of lifestyle risk factors with nursing home admission.
This prospective cohort study linked data from the 45 and Up Study, Australia, to health records. 127 108 men and women, aged ≥60 years, were recruited between 2006 and 2009. A healthy lifestyle score categorised participants into three risk groups based on five equally contributing risk factors: smoking status, physical activity, sedentary behaviour, sleep duration and diet quality. HRs for incident nursing home admission were estimated using multivariable Cox proportional hazards model.
One-quarter of participants were in the low-risk lifestyle group, 62% were in the medium-risk group and 14% in the high-risk (least healthy) group. During a median (IQR) follow-up of 11.3 years, 23 094 (18%) participants were admitted to a nursing home. Compared with those in the low-risk group, risk of nursing home admission was 43% higher among participants in the high-risk group (multivariable adjusted HR (aHR) 1.43; 95% CI 1.36 to 1.50); and participants in the medium-risk group had an intermediate 12% greater risk (aHR 1.12; 95% CI 1.08 to 1.16). Participants aged 60–64 years in the high-risk (aHR 2.15; 95% CI 1.82 to 2.54) lifestyle group had the greatest risk of nursing home admission.
An unhealthy lifestyle was associated with a marked increased risk of admission to a nursing home in adults aged 60+ years. Interventions focused on lifestyle modifications may prevent or delay nursing home admission.