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Lonhala Magnair

Being a Caregiver Linked to Poor Health Behaviors Among Baby Boomers

Baby boomers who are informal caregivers have greater odds of having behaviors that increase their health risk, according to a new study.

Researchers compared the health behaviors of 5,688 California baby boomers who were informal caregivers to that of 12,941 non-caregiving boomers.

The caregivers were slightly older than the non-caregivers (by 0.5 years), more likely to be women (59.8% vs. 47.4%), more likely to be educated beyond high school, more likely to have higher family income, but less likely to be employed.

After controlling for psychological distress, and for personal characteristics and social resources, the caregivers had 127% the odds of non-caregivers of poor overall health behaviors.

Compared to non-caregivers, caregivers had 36% greater odds of being a current smoker, 41% greater odds of consuming soda at least 3.5 times weekly, and 17% greater odds of eating fast food at least once a week.

More details are in Hoffman, G.J. (2012). Health behaviors among baby boomer informal caregivers. The Gerontologist, 52(2), 219-230.

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