Physical functional limitations among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal older adults

associations with socio-demographic factors and health

Lina Gubhaju, Emily Banks, Rona MacNiven, Bridgette J. McNamara, Grace Joshy, Adrian Bauman, Sandra J. Eades

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Australian Aboriginal people are disproportionately affected by physical disability; the reasons for this are unclear. This study aimed to quantify associations between severe physical functional limitations and socio-demographic and health-related factors among older Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal adults.

METHODS: Questionnaire data from 1,563 Aboriginal and 226,802 non-Aboriginal participants aged ≥45 years from the Sax Institute's 45 and Up Study (New South Wales, Australia) were used to calculate age- and sex-adjusted prevalence ratios (aPRs) for severe limitation [MOS-PF score <60] according to socio-demographic and health-related factors.

RESULTS: Overall, 26% (410/1563) of Aboriginal participants and 13% (29,569/226,802) of non-Aboriginal participants had severe limitations (aPR 2.8, 95%CI 2.5-3.0). In both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal participants, severe limitation was significantly associated with: being ≥70 vs <70 years old (aPRs 1.8, 1.3-2.4 and 5.3, 5.0-5.5, within Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal participants, respectively), none vs tertiary educational qualifications (aPRs 2.4, 1.7-3.3 and 3.1, 3.0-3.2), lower vs higher income (aPRs 6.6, 4.2-10.5 and 5.5, 5.2-5.8), current vs never-smoking (aPRs 2.0, 1.6-2.5 and 2.2, 2.1-2.3), obese vs normal weight (aPRs 1.7, 1.3-2.2 and 2.7, 2.7-2.8) and sitting for ≥7 vs <7 hours/day (aPRs 1.6, 1.2-2.0 and 1.6, 1.6-1.7). Severe limitations increased with increasing ill-health, with aPRs rising to 5-6 for ≥5 versus no chronic conditions. It was significantly higher in those with few vs many social contacts (aPRs 1.7, 1.4-2.0 and 1.4, 1.4-1.4) and with very high vs low psychological distress (aPRs 4.4, 3.6-5.4 and 5.7, 5.5-5.9).

CONCLUSIONS: Although the prevalence of severe physical limitation among Aboriginal people in this study is around three-fold that of non-Aboriginal people, the factors related to it are similar, indicating that Aboriginal people have higher levels of risk factors for and consequences of severe limitations. Effective management of chronic disease and reducing the prevalence of obesity and smoking are important areas for attention.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0139364
Number of pages17
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume10
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2015. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Physical functional limitations among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal older adults: associations with socio-demographic factors and health'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this