Home > Longitudinal clustering of health behaviours and their association with multimorbidity in older adults in England: a latent class analysis.

Suhag, Alisha and Webb, Thomas L and Holmes, John (2024) Longitudinal clustering of health behaviours and their association with multimorbidity in older adults in England: a latent class analysis. PLoS ONE, 19, (1), e0297422. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0297422.

External website: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.13...

BACKGROUND Health-risk behaviours such as smoking, unhealthy nutrition, alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity (termed SNAP behaviours) are leading risk factors for multimorbidity and tend to cluster (i.e. occur in specific combinations within distinct subpopulations). However, little is known about how these clusters change with age in older adults, and whether and how cluster membership is associated with multimorbidity.

METHODS Repeated measures latent class analysis using data from Waves 4-8 of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA; n = 4759) identified clusters of respondents with common patterns of SNAP behaviours over time. Disease status (from Wave 9) was used to assess disorders of eight body systems, multimorbidity, and complex multimorbidity. Multinomial and binomial logistic regressions were used to examine how clusters were associated with socio-demographic characteristics and disease status.

FINDINGS Seven clusters were identified: Low-risk (13.4%), Low-risk yet inactive (16.8%), Low-risk yet heavy drinkers (11.4%), Abstainer yet inactive (20.0%), Poor diet and inactive (12.9%), Inactive, heavy drinkers (14.5%), and High-risk smokers (10.9%). There was little evidence that these clusters changed with age. People in the clusters characterised by physical inactivity (in combination with other risky behaviours) had lower levels of education and wealth. People in the heavy drinking clusters were predominantly male. Compared to other clusters, people in the Low-risk and Low-risk yet heavy drinkers had a lower prevalence of all health conditions studied. In contrast, the Abstainer but inactive cluster comprised mostly women and had the highest prevalence of multimorbidity, complex multimorbidity, and endocrine disorders. High-risk smokers were most likely to have respiratory disorders.

CONCLUSIONS Health-risk behaviours tend to be stable as people age and so ought to be addressed early. We identified seven clusters of older adults with distinct patterns of behaviour, socio-demographic characteristics and multimorbidity prevalence. Intervention developers could use this information to identify high-risk subpopulations and tailor interventions to their behaviour patterns and socio-demographic profiles.

Item Type
Publication Type
Drug Type
Alcohol, Tobacco / Nicotine
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
Identification #
Public Library of Science

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