A recent study published in Cureus, an online peer-reviewed medical journal, explored the awareness and practices of healthy lifestyle among elderly population in Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia. The study aimed to assess the factors that influence the health and well-being of older adults in this region, which has a high prevalence of chronic diseases and low life expectancy.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), healthy aging is the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age. Functional ability is determined by the health-related attributes that enable people to be and do what they have reason to value, such as mobility, cognition, social relationships, and participation in meaningful activities.
The WHO also recommends that older adults should adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity, healthy diet, avoiding tobacco and harmful use of alcohol, and managing stress. These behaviors can prevent or delay the onset of non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, and dementia, which are the leading causes of death and disability among older people.
The Study Methodology and Findings
The study conducted by Al-Mansour et al. (2023) used a cross-sectional design to collect data from 384 elderly participants (aged 60 years and above) living in Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia. The participants were selected using a multistage random sampling technique from different districts of the city. The data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire that included questions about socio-demographic characteristics, health status, and awareness and practices of healthy lifestyle. The questionnaire was validated and pilot-tested before the data collection. The data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics.
The study found that the majority of the participants (82.6%) had a moderate level of awareness of healthy lifestyle, while only 12.5% had a high level of awareness. The most common sources of information about healthy lifestyle were television (67.4%), internet (54.4%), and health professionals (51.8%). The study also found that the participants had a low level of practice of healthy lifestyle, with only 18.8% reporting a high level of practice. The most frequently reported healthy behaviors were drinking enough water (80.5%), avoiding smoking (77.9%), and eating fruits and vegetables (66.9%). The least frequently reported healthy behaviors were doing regular exercise (28.9%), avoiding stress (35.7%), and limiting salt intake (36.5%). The study also revealed that there were significant associations between the level of awareness and practice of healthy lifestyle and some socio-demographic and health-related factors, such as age, gender, education, income, marital status, chronic diseases, and medication use.
The Implications and Recommendations of the Study
The study concluded that there is a need to improve the awareness and practice of healthy lifestyle among elderly population in Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia, as they are at a high risk of developing chronic diseases and experiencing poor quality of life. The study suggested that health education programs should be designed and implemented to target this population group and to address the barriers and facilitators of healthy lifestyle. The study also recommended that health care providers should play an active role in promoting healthy lifestyle among older adults and providing them with appropriate counseling and guidance. The study also called for further research to explore the impact of healthy lifestyle on the health outcomes and well-being of elderly people in this region.