Physical function in an aging population in Rural South Africa: findings from HAALSI and cross-national comparisons with HRS sister studies

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From: The Journals of Gerontology, Series B(Vol. 72, Issue 4)
Publisher: Gerontological Society of America
Document Type: Author abstract; Clinical report
Length: 225 words

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Abstract :

Objectives: We use recently-collected data from the Health and Aging in Africa: a Longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH Community in South Africa (HAALSI) cohort from Agincourt, South Africa, to describe physical functioning in this aging population, and place the overall level and age-trajectories of physical health in the context of other Health and Retirement Study (HRS) sister studies in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Method: We conduct multiple regression to estimate associations of physical functioning assessed from both self-report (activities of daily living [ADL] limitation, self-reported health) and performance (grip strength, gait speed) with socio-demographic and health characteristics in HAALSI, and use fully-interacted regression models to compare age-patterns of physical functioning outcomes cross-nationally. Results: Gender differences in self-reported health are minimal, and men had 30% higher odds of being ADL limited controlling for socio-demographic and health characteristics. Measured physical performance is closely tied with socioeconomic conditions, but self-reported measures have a much smaller or weaker socioeconomic gradient. In international age-adjusted comparisons, the HAALSI sample had lower physical performance outcomes than most comparison populations. Discussion: As the first HRS sister study undertaken in Africa, EIAALSI adds vital information on population aging and health in the region. Continuing waves of HAALSI data will be a key resource for understanding differences in the complex processes of disability across LMIC contexts. Keywords: Africa--Cross-national comparisons--Disability--Low- and middle-income countries--Physical functioning doi:10.1093/geronb/gbx030

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A499598522