Korean J Fam Pract 2019; 9(3): 247-253  https://doi.org/10.21215/kjfp.2019.9.3.247
Health Behaviors and Lifestyle Patterns of Elderly Living Alone in Korea
Chae Lin Joo, Jin Ju Park, Areum Kim, Na Lee Park, Jisun Lim, Hye Soon Park*
Department of Family Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Hye Soon Park
Tel: +82-2-3010-3813, Fax: +82-2-3010-3015
E-mail: hyesoon@amc.seoul.kr
Received: August 7, 2018; Revised: December 5, 2018; Accepted: December 26, 2018; Published online: June 20, 2019.
© The Korean Academy of Family Medicine. All rights reserved.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Background: Korea's population is aging rapidly. Aged people who lead a solitary life are in a state of social isolation and face a greater risk of lower quality of life. The purpose of this study was to analyze the health behaviors and lifestyle patterns of aged people who lead a solitary life in Korea.
Methods: We analyzed 4,471 subjects (1,933 men and 2,538 women)–aged people aged 65 or above–based on data from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey VI (2013–2015). The odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were analyzed using multivariate logistic regression analysis adjusted with age, household income level, occupational status, and geographical region.
Results: Socioeconomic status was lower in aged people who lead a solitary life than in those living with family. The ORs for frequent eating out alone (OR=2.93; 95% CI 1.83–4.38), daily eating out alone (OR=2.40; 95% CI 1.25–4.60), smoking (OR=1.57; 95% CI 1.06–2.32), feeling sick or uncomfortable (OR=1.59; 95% CI 1.08–2.36), feeling depressed (OR=4.10; 95% CI 2.53–6.65), and suicide ideation (OR=2.06; 95% CI 1.21–3.51) were significantly higher in male subjects who lead a solitary life. The ORs for frequent eating out alone (OR=1.57; 95% CI 1.10–2.24) and inadequate sleep duration (OR=1.29; 95% CI 1.03–1.61) were significantly higher in female subjects who lead a solitary life.
Conclusion: Aged people who lead a solitary life exhibited unhealthy behaviors and poor mental health. The elderly men who lead a solitary life faced higher risk of poor health than the women. Integrated management of lifestyle behaviors is required to improve the quality of health in aged people who lead a solitary life.
Keywords: Aged People; Solitary Life; Health Behaviors; Nutritional Status; Mental Health
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