Thirteen dimensions of health in elderly Sri Lankans: results from a National Sri Lanka Aging Survey.
OBJECTIVES: To explore age and sex differences in distribution of 13 health dimensions with a focus on self-rated health (SRH) and the association between SRH and other health dimensions in elderly Sri Lankans. DESIGN: Sri Lanka Aging Survey, a nationally representative cross-sectional survey. SETTING: Community based. PARTICIPANTS: Inhabitants of 13 districts in Sri Lanka aged 60 and older (N=2,413). MEASUREMENTS: Self-reported SRH, hearing, activities of daily living (ADLs), instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), mobility, physical disability, chronic diseases, stress and worry, mood, cognition, social participation, social support, and financial health. RESULTS: The prevalence of being "healthy" in most health dimensions, including SRH, declined with age. Men were more likely to report better SRH; independence in ADLs, IADLs, and mobility; absence of physical disability and chronic diseases; and good mental health. Absence of chronic diseases, independence in ADLs and IADLs, freedom from stress and worry, and absence of depression were associated with positive (excellent/very good/good) SRH. The male SRH advantage was not significant in adjusted analyses, and sex did not modify the association between SRH and other health dimensions. CONCLUSION: Several of the dimensions associated with positive SRH are to a certain extent modifiable and therefore provide a potential for improvement in SRH of elderly Sri Lankans. Differences between this study and studies from elsewhere in the associations between different health dimensions and SRH, and in how sex modifies these associations, suggest that some of the associations may depend on cultural context.
Ostbye, T; Malhotra, R; Chan, A
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