Racial/ethnic differences in the development of disability among older adults

Dorothy D. Dunlop*, Jing Song, Larry M. Manheim, Martha L. Daviglus, Rowland W. Chang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives. We investigated differences in the development of disability in activities of daily living among non-Hispanic Whites, African Americans, Hispanics interviewed in Spanish, and Hispanics interviewed in English. Methods. We estimated 6-year risk for disability development among 8161 participants 65 years or older and free of baseline disability. We evaluated mediating factors amenable to clinical and public health intervention on racial/ethnic difference. Results. The risk for developing disability among Hispanics interviewed in English was similar to that among Whites (hazard ratio [HR]=0.99; 95% confidence interval [CI]=0.6, 1.4) but was substantially higher among African Americans (HR=1.6; 95% CI=1.3, 1.9) and Hispanics interviewed in Spanish (HR=1.8; 95% CI=1.4, 2.1). Adjustment for demographics, health, and socioeconomic status reduced a large portion of those disparities (African American adjusted HR=1.1, Spanish-interviewed Hispanic adjusted HR=1.2). Conclusions. Higher risks for developing disability among older African Americans, and Hispanics interviewed in Spanish compared with Whites were largely attenuated by health and socioeconomic differences. Language- and culture-specific programs to increase physical activity and promote weight maintenance may reduce rates of disability in activities of daily living and reduce racial/ethnic disparities in disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2209-2215
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Volume97
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 12 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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