University of Oulu

Urtamo, A., Huohvanainen, E., Pitkälä, K.H. et al. Aging Clin Exp Res (2019) 31: 225.

Midlife predictors of active and healthy aging (AHA) among older businessmen

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Author: Urtamo, Annele1; Huohvanainen, Emmi1; Pitkälä, Kaisu H.1;
Organizations: 1Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, and Helsinki University Central Hospital, Unit of Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
2Clinicum, and Helsinki University Hospital, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
3Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-07-02


Background: Active and healthy aging (AHA) is an important phenomenon in aging societies.

Aims: Our aim was to investigate midlife predictors of AHA in a socioeconomically homogenous male cohort.

Methods: In 2010, AHA was defined in the Helsinki Businessmen Study (men born in 1919–1934) with six criteria: (1) being alive, (2) responding to the mailed survey, (3) no reported cognitive problems, (4) feeling of happiness, (5) no difficulties in activities of daily living (ADL), and (6) no significant chronic diseases. Midlife factors were assessed in 1974 (n = 1759, mean age 47 years). Of the survivors in 2010 (n = 839), 10.0% (n = 84) fulfilled all AHA criteria, whilst 13.7% (n = 115) had chronic diseases but fulfilled other five criteria. Midlife predictors of AHA were analyzed with logistic models.

Results: Of the midlife factors, smoking [Odds ratio (OR) 0.44, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.25–0.77], higher body mass index (BMI) (OR 0.75, 0.59–0.96), and higher total cholesterol (OR 0.76, 0.60–0.97) prevented significantly full AHA criteria, whereas higher self-rated health (SRH) (OR 1.73, 1.07–2.80) predicted significantly of fulfilling all AHA criteria. Midlife smoking (OR 0.87, 0.84–0.91), higher BMI (OR 0.73, 0.61–0.86), and higher alcohol consumption (OR 0.73, 0.60–0.90) prevented significantly of fulfilling the five AHA criteria with chronic diseases, and higher SRH (OR 1.90, 1.37–2.63) predicted significantly the five AHA criteria (chronic diseases present).

Discussion: Our study suggests that midlife factors, especially good SRH and low levels of cardiovascular risk factors, are associated with AHA.

Conclusions: The study emphasizes the importance of life-course predictors of healthy aging.

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Series: Aging clinical and experimental research
ISSN: 1594-0667
ISSN-E: 1720-8319
ISSN-L: 1594-0667
Volume: 31
Issue: 2
Pages: 225 - 231
DOI: 10.1007/s40520-018-1100-0
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3111 Biomedicine
3141 Health care science
Funding: Open access funding provided by University of Helsinki including Helsinki University Central Hospital. This study was supported by Helsinki University Hospital VTR (EVO)—funding and Academy of Finland (311492).
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.