Physical Function in an Aging Population in Rural South Africa: Findings From HAALSI and Cross-National Comparisons With HRS Sister Studies

Citation:

Collin F Payne, Francesc Xavier Gómez-Olivé, Kathleen Kahn, and Lisa Berkman. 2017. “Physical Function in an Aging Population in Rural South Africa: Findings From HAALSI and Cross-National Comparisons With HRS Sister Studies.” J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci, 72, 4, Pp. 665-679.

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, HAALSI 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.
Last updated on 09/28/2017