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A Descriptive Study of Health, Lifestyle and Sociodemographic Characteristics and their Relationship to Known Dementia Risk Factors in Rural Victorian Communities

Department of Rural Health, University of Melbourne, Vic, Australia

Special Issues: Activity and Lifestyle factors in the elderly: Its relationship with Degenerative diseases and Depression

It is essential to determine the key health risk factors among populations to specifically plan future services and explore interventions that modify risk factors for communities. This aims to reduce risks and delay the onset of chronic conditions, which frequently results in dementia, particularly for small rural communities which experience health workforce shortages, a higher proportion of those in the chronic conditions age group, and reduced access to care. The aim of the study was to determine existing rates of chronic disease, and current lifestyle and sociodemographic factors which may predispose the population to higher risk of dementia. Residents from three shires in rural Victoria, Australia were recruited by random and non-random sampling techniques to complete a survey regarding health perceptions, pre-existing illnesses, health behaviors and social activity in their community. A total of 1474 people completed the survey. Positive factors reported were social participation and low rates of smoking. Negative factors included low rates of physical activity, high rates of obesity and high rates of chronic conditions that indicate significant risk factors for dementia in these communities. Although some factors are modifiable, these communities also have a large population of older residents. This study suggests that community interventions could modify lifestyle risk factors in these rural communities. These lifestyle factors, age of residents and the current chronic conditions are also important for rural service planning to increase preventive actions, and warn of the likely increase in the number of people developing chronic conditions with predispositon to dementia.
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Copyright Info: © 2015, Kaye Ervin, et al., licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

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