Background: The number of older people in Vietnam has increased substantially for recent years and leading to more aging health problems. The purpose of this study was to assess risky behaviors and their associated factors among the elderly in rural Vietnam.
Design: In a cross-sectional study using quantitative methods, 600 elderly (≥ 60 years old) living in a rural district in Northern Vietnam in 2013 were approached for data collection. Logistic regression was undertaken to identify factors associated with each of the risky behaviors, including using alcohol, smoking, and physical inactivity.
Results: The frequency of drinking, smoking and physical inactivity among the rural elderly was quite prevalent, 25.17%, 22.17% and 60%, respectively. The multivariate regression analysis revealed that alcohol use was most strongly predicted by gender (male) and age (60-79 years old). Further, smoking behavior was significantly more prevalent among those who were male, younger age, with low social participation, low social support and high social cohesion. In terms of physical inactivity, being female, married, having a caregiver, with low social participation, low social cohesion and high social support were most likely to predict inadequate exercises among the rural older people.
Conclusions: Social efforts are important to create social conditions (social participation, social cohesion and social support) that facilitate healthy behaviors among the seniors. The results can be utilized to inform appropriate intervention programs in other similar settings of developing countries.