Transition to retirement impact on health and lifestyle habits: analysis from a nationwide Italian cohort

on behalf of the Italian Working Group on Retirement and Health

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Retirement is a life-course transition likely to affect, through different mechanisms, behavioural risk factors’ patterns and, ultimately, health outcomes. We assessed the impact of transitioning to retirement on lifestyle habits and perceived health status in a nationwide cohort of Italian adults. Methods: We analysed data from a large cohort of Italian adults aged 55–70, derived from linking six waves of the Participation, Labour, Unemployment Survey (PLUS), a national survey representative of the Italian workforce population, conducted between 2010 and 2018. We estimated relative-risk ratios (RRR) of transition to retirement and their corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for selected behavioural risk factors and health outcomes using multivariable logistic regression models. We used propensity score matching (PSM) to account for potential confounders. Results: We included 5169 subjects in the study population, of which 1653 retired between 2010 and 2018 (exposed, 32%). Transition to retirement was associated with a 36% increased probability of practising sports (RRR 1.36, 95% CI 1.12–1.64). No statistically significant changes were reported for smoking habit (current smoker RRR: 1.18, 95% CI 0.94–1.46) and BMI (overweight/obese RRR: 0.96, 95% CI 0.81–1.15). Overall, retiring was associated with improved self-rated health status (RRR 1.26, 95% CI 1.02–1.58). Conclusion: Individual data-linkage of multiple waves of the PLUS can offer great insight to inform healthy ageing policies in Italy and Europe. Transition to retirement has an independent effect on perceived health status, physical activity and selected behavioural risk factors. It should be identified as a target moment for preventive interventions, with particular reference to primary prevention so as to promote health and wellbeing in older ages.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1670
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Ageing
  • Cohort study
  • Health behaviour
  • Physical activity
  • Retirement
  • Self-rated health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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