Caregivers engaged in fewer healthy behaviors
People taking care of more than one generation - such as their children and parents - engaged in fewer healthy behaviors, found a study by researchers from Indiana University and Arizona State University.
As the U.S. population continues to age, more and more midlife adults find themselves similarly "sandwiched," leading the research team to conclude that "encouraging healthy behaviors among caregivers has the potential to prevent significant illness and premature mortality."
The study involved 4,943 participants in a longitudinal study who reported the number of hours per week they spent caring for their children, parents and in-laws.
The researchers looked at five health behaviors: checking food labels for health value when buying foods, using a seat belt, choosing foods based on health value, exercising regularly and cigarette smoking.
Compared with people caring for a single generation, people in the sandwich generation were less likely to check food labels, wear seat belts or choose foods based on health values.
They also smoked more cigarettes each day. Dong-Chul Seo, assistant professor in the Department of Applied Health Science in IU's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, will discuss the findings during a poster presentation on Monday, Oct. 27, at 2:30 p.m.