To promote health and healthy aging, it is important to develop supportive environments and specific opportunities for meaningful and valuable social engagement. The current study examined the differences of Body Mass Index (physical health indicator), perceived health, happiness, and depression (mental health indicators) according to the clusters of leisure participation patterns among older adults who were retired and living in the community. A sample of 1,134 participants aged 60 years and older was extracted from the Alameda County Health and Ways of Living Study. The result of K-means cluster analysis revealed that there were three distinctive leisure participation patterns: the ardent achievers, the physical enthusiasts, and the easy contenders. The multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) showed that the ardent achievers had the highest perceived mental health and happiness scores and the lowest depressive symptoms scores. Physical enthusiasts demonstrated the highest scores on ‘working in the garden’ and the lowest Body Mass Index of the three groups, which is one of the important indicators for physical health. Activity professionals may encourage older adults living in the community to work in the garden or other moderate to rigorous physical exercise, which may contribute to increased physical and mental health of older adults. Further practical implications are discussed.
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health Professions (miscellaneous)
- Geriatrics and Gerontology