Health behavior; health disparities; Geriatrics/Gerontology; Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System; clinical preventive services; employment


Community Health and Preventive Medicine


Objective: Examine health behavior risk rates and disparities in health behavior risks related to race and employment among older adults. Methods: A cross-sectional analysis of a representative sample of noninstitutionalized adults aged 65 and older (150,669 in 2015 and 168,011 in 2016) from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Self-reported health behavior risks were measured as well as multiple logistic regression analyses assessing the independent effects of demographic variables on health behavior risks. Results: Employed older adults have greater health behavior risks than unemployed older adults. Black employed older adults have greater health behavior risks than Black unemployed older adults for all behaviors. Greater disparities in health behavior risks exist between Black and White employed older adults than between Black and White unemployed older adults (smoking, being overweight or obese, and physical activity). Discussion: Employers should design health insurance benefits and workplace health promotion programs to address the needs of all older persons.