Changes in healthy food habits after transition to old age retirement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Retirement is one of the major transitions in the life course. However, it is poorly understood how health behaviours, such as food habits, might change after retirement. This study aimed to examine whether healthy food habits change after the transition to old age retirement and whether socio-demographic or health-related factors explain the association between retirement, being continuously employed and healthy food habits at follow-up.

METHODS: The data were derived from the Helsinki Health Study cohort on the staff of the City of Helsinki, Finland. The baseline questionnaire survey data were collected in 2000-02 and the follow-up in 2007. We included only participants who were aged 55-60 years at baseline and entered old age retirement during the follow-up (n = 1156, 76% women) or remained continuously employed (n = 1269, 79% women). Food habits from a food frequency questionnaire included eight items formed according to the Finnish and Nordic dietary recommendations. Logistic regression models were fitted to examine the associations between retirement, being continuously employed and healthy food habits at follow-up.

RESULTS: Healthy food habits increased more among retired women than those continuously employed (P = 0.03). At follow-up retired women had healthier food habits than continuously employed women after adjusting for baseline food habits [OR = 1.36 (1.12-1.65)]. Among men, healthy food habits were unassociated with retirement.

CONCLUSION: Transition to old age retirement is likely to have beneficial effects on food habits among women. This helps prevent major diseases and supports better public health among ageing people.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)582-586
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 3141 Health care science
  • employment
  • follow-p
  • food habit recommendations
  • gender
  • retirement

Cite this