Maintaining a healthy lifestyle may help seniors ward off disabilities, a new study shows.
A study of nearly 4,000 older adults in Dijon, France over 12 years found that people who were not physically active had a 72 percent increased risk of acquiring a disability. Additionally, seniors who smoked had a 26 percent increased risk, and those who ate fruits and vegetables less than once a day had a 24 percent increased risk.
People with all three unhealthy habits were twice as likely to develop disabilities.
To determine levels of disability, researchers looked at how well participants could use a telephone, manage their money and medications, walk, climb stairs, do housework, shop, use private or public transportation and perform personal care functions such as bathing and dressing.
Around 30 percent of participants' cases of disability were explained by factors such as high body-mass index, mental decline, depression, chronic disease and cardiovascular disease.
The study was published online on Tuesday in the journal BMJ.