Background: As the US workforce ages, lifestyle factors will increasingly affect their health, yet little information is available on their prevalence in older working populations. Methods: Using the nationally representative 1997-2003 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), reported current smoking, risky drinking and leisure-time physical activity behaviors of older workers (≥65 years) were compared with older non-workers. These behaviors were evaluated by age, gender, race, ethnicity, and occupation, as well as prototype "healthy" and "risky" persons. Results: The study population of 4,946 older US workers and 38,313 older non-workers represented an estimated 3.9 million older workers and 28.9 million older non-workers annually. Relative to older non-workers, older workers reported more current smoking and risky drinking, but higher levels of leisure-time physical activity with variations by subpopulations. Conclusions: Less than 4% of the older US worker population reported overall healthy behaviors. Certain occupations and other subpopulations can be targeted for age-appropriate behavioral interventions.
- Ethanol abuse
- Tobacco use
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health