04 May 2010 ~ Comments Off on Self-reported prevalence and health correlates of functional limitation among Massachusetts elderly Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and non-Hispanic white neighborhood comparison group

Self-reported prevalence and health correlates of functional limitation among Massachusetts elderly Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and non-Hispanic white neighborhood comparison group

Author: mohec-admin

Additional Authors: Tucker, K. L.; Falcon, L. M.; Bianchi, L. A.; Cacho, E.; Bermudez, O. I.
Year: 2000
URL: No URL given Journal: Journals of Gerontology Series A-Biological Sciences & Medical Sciences
Volume: 55
Issue: 2
Pages: M90-7

BACKGROUND: Limited data suggest that Puerto Ricans experience greater disability than other ethnic groups, but few studies have examined the factors associated with this apparent difference. METHODS: We describe the prevalence of functional limitation and disability in a representative sample of Puerto Rican and Dominican elders in Massachusetts, and in a neighborhood comparison group of non-Hispanic whites (NHWs). We then relate disability scores, based on both prevalence and severity of ADL or IADL limitation, with self-reported history of diagnosed health conditions–adjusting for age, sex, body mass index (BMI; weight kg/height m(2)), income, education, living alone, smoking, and alcohol use. RESULTS: Seventy-five percent of Dominican women and 73% of Puerto Rican women reported difficulty with at least one ADL, compared with 64% of NHW women. Puerto Rican men reported significantly more limitation than did NHW or Dominican men. Conditions significantly associated with at least two disability measures among the NHW included smoking, former heavy alcohol use, arthritis, cataract, respiratory disease, and high BMI, but not stroke, diabetes, history of heart attack, or depression. The patterns for Puerto Ricans differed, with the strongest associations between disability and stroke, arthritis, diabetes, and depression, followed by history of heart attack, high BMI, cataract, poverty status, and respiratory disease. Only arthritis and depression were consistently significantly associated with disability among this smaller sample of Dominican elders. CONCLUSIONS: Functional limitation and disability are more prevalent among Puerto Ricans and among Dominican women than among neighborhood NHWs in Massachusetts. Greater disability is associated with the presence of chronic health conditions, which differ by ethnic group. Additional research is needed to further define the social and health factors that contribute to these ethnic differences.

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