Aim: To review findings from the Men, Women and Ageing (MWA) longitudinal studies and consider their implications for national health guidelines.
Methods: Guidelines for good health for older adults in the areas of body mass index (BMI), physical activity, alcohol consumption and smoking behaviours are compared with MWA findings.
Results: Findings from MWA suggest that current BMI guidelines may be too narrow because BMI in the overweight range appears to be protective for both older men and women. Across all levels of BMI, even low levels of physical activity decrease mortality risk compared with being sedentary. Our findings suggest that consideration should be given to having different alcohol guidelines for older men and women and should include recommendations for alcohol-free days. The benefit of quitting smoking at any age is apparent for both women and men.
Conclusions: Current national guidelines in the areas discussed in this paper should be reviewed for older people.