10 Keys to Healthy Aging

University of Pittsburgh, Prevention Research Center

Five senior citizens

The 10 KeysTM to Healthy Aging is an evidence-based program that gives older adults tools to reduce the risks of chronic disease and increase the likelihood of healthier old age.

Drawing on recommendations from the US Preventive Services Task Force, the University of Pittsburgh PRC developed 10 KeysTM. The program includes an online and downloadable workbook that highlights 10 health topics.  Participants read each section and respond to questions. An Instructors Manual is also available. Health topics include increasing physical activity, combating depression, lowering blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and blood glucose levels. The program also includes taking advantage of cancer screening and vaccination. 10 KeysTM empowers older people to be proactive in health through lifestyle changes and partners with physicians to address chronic disease risk factors. The participant workbook includes opportunities to write down/develop personal goals, action steps, and optional take-home assignments. 1

After the first study, the PRC partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of Aging APPRISE program to deliver the 10 Keys throughout the state in senior centers. APPRISE is a Medicare counseling program offered at senior centers.


In its first evaluation, a group of adults age 65 and older participated in the “10 Keys” program for 12 months. Overall, the adults improved meeting their goals for low-density lipoprotein (LDL), cholesterol, blood pressure control, blood glucose control in diabetics, and colon cancer screenings. Among those without prior vaccination, influenza vaccine increased by 25% and pneumonia vaccine by 20%.2  In a partnership with senior centers, the PRC trained instructors using the online version.

Participants who complete the online version of the program are “certified” in the 10 Keys through the Pennsylvania Department on Aging. The certification process allows the program to track data on professional affiliations, uses of the program, and the target audience. Nearly 1,000 participants have received certification.

In 2017, the PRC conducted an implementation evaluation and found that respondents’ knowledge increased: the percent of correct answers increased from 61.5% at the beginning of the program to 78% afterward. In a telephone follow-up over six months, participants who completed a higher number of 10 Keys workshops had significantly higher levels of physical activity and hypertension management.3


Delivered at senior centers in 14 counties, 10 Keys led to participants’ increased knowledge of how to prevent chronic disease and changed lifestyles to promote healthy aging.3   From 2013 through 2016, over 1,500 adults at 83 sites participated in the program. The 10 Keys collaboration with APPRISE shows that prevention efforts for older adults can be delivered broadly (at scale) by using the aging services infrastructures. The program augmented a Medicare plan counseling program with chronic disease prevention workshops.


The PRC is working with the Jewish Healthcare Foundation in Pittsburgh to pilot and deliver 10 KeysTM  virtual free classes on a wide variety of topics. Attendees include individuals in their homes, as well as groups of people at local senior centers. The 10 KeysTM have been grouped into a series of four workshops with downloadable materials. Using the virtual classes allows class facilitators to use the 10 Keys curriculum to connect with participants wherever they are and have discussions regarding healthy aging.

1. Newman Anne, Bayles Constance, Milas Carol et al. The 10 Keys to Healthy Aging: Findings from an Innovative Prevention Program in the Community. Journal of Aging Health. 2010:22(5): 547-566.
2. Ibid.
3. Albert SM, King J, Jones JR, et al. Using Infrastructure of State Aging Services to Promote Prevention Behavior. Preventing Chronic Disease. 2018;Jul 5;15:E90.