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STUDY OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationships between the use of preventive health services--such as health checks, basic health examination/cancer screening, and daily preventive health practices--and survival of elderly people living in the community. DESIGN AND SETTING: A cohort of elderly people aged 65 years and over living in Settsu City, Osaka was followed for 38 months. Data on the history of health management, disability scores, and psychosocial conditions were collected in October 1992 by interview during home visits. SUBJECTS: Of the 1491 people randomly selected from the computerised sex-age register at enrollment, 1473 were contacted and responses were obtained from 1405 (95.4%). They constituted the study cohort. Follow up was completed for 1325 (94.3%) (154 decreased and 1171 alive). MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: From the analysis using the Kaplan-Meier method and the log-rank test, female sex, younger age group (65-74 years), use of health checks, use of basic health examination and/or cancer screening, use of daily preventive health practices, less disability, taking part in social activity, and finding life worth living were univariately statistically significantly related to survival. The estimated survival rates were highest in those with regular health checks or daily preventive health practices before 59 years of age or both basic health examination and cancer screening. From the Cox proportional hazards model, use of health checks and use of daily preventive health practices remained as statistically significant factors associated with survival, controlling for other factors such as sex, age group, medical treatment, disability scores, and psycho-social conditions, and these hazard ratios (not used v starting at 59 years) were 0.41 (95% CI, 0.25, 0.66) and 0.52 (95% CI, 0.30, 0.88), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Health management efforts such as health checks and daily preventive health practices may increase survival in the elderly.