Healthy aging in a cross-sectional study of Australian men: what has sex got to do with it? Academic Article uri icon


  • AIM: To identify lifestyle factors associated with healthy aging in middle-aged and older Australian men. METHODS: A cross-sectional, population-based, computer-assisted telephone interview study explored self-reported health outcomes, and associated determinants for general and reproductive health (the Men in Australia Telephone Survey) in men aged 40 years and older (n = 5990). "Good health" was defined by self-reported health (excellent/very good) combined with absence of self-reported high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and depression symptoms. Categories of sexual activity frequency in the previous four weeks ranged from zero to 12+ times. RESULTS: "Good health" declined with increasing age with 17% of men over 70 years reporting "good health". In multivariable logistic regression models, significant inverse associations were found between modifiable lifestyle factors - both underweight and overweight/obesity, physical inactivity, smoking and high alcohol consumption - and "good health". Low-risk alcohol intake and living with a partner were positively associated with "good health". Sexual activity was also positively associated with "good health" (p < 0.001) with elevated odds ratios (ORs) for each category of frequency of sexual activity (1-4, 5-8, 9-12 or 12+ times in the past 4 weeks) relative to zero frequency (ORs 1.68 to 2.16). CONCLUSION: This study suggests that sexual activity is an important correlate of retaining good health in middle- and older-aged men, independent of other behavioral determinants.


  • Holden, C
  • Collins, V
  • Handelsman, D
  • Jolley, D
  • Pitts, M

publication date

  • 2014