|Title||Racial-Ethnic Disparities in Dual-Function Life Expectancy.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2023|
|Authors||Bauldry, S, Thomas, PA, Sauerteig-Rolston, MR, Ferraro, KF|
|Journal||J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci|
|Date Published||2023 Feb 17|
BACKGROUND: This study develops a new concept, dual functionality, that integrates physical and cognitive function. We use the concept to define a measure of dual-function life expectancy and assess racial-ethnic inequalities in aging.
METHODS: Drawing on data from the National Health Interview Study Linked Mortality Files and the Health and Retirement Study, we define dual functionality as having no limitations in activities of daily living and being free of dementia. We use this measure and Sullivan life tables to estimate age-50 total life expectancy and age-50 dual-function life expectancy (2FLE) for women and men across four racial-ethnic and nativity groups.
RESULTS: At ages 50 to 54, between 79.0% (95% CI: 73.5, 84.5) and 87.6% (95% CI: 84.0, 91.2) of (non-Hispanic) Black, foreign-born Hispanic, and US-born Hispanic women and men remain dual functional as compared with 90.4% (95% CI: 89.3, 91.4) and 91.4% (95% CI: 90.2, 92.5) of (non-Hispanic) White women and men respectively. These and corresponding racial-ethnic disparities in dual functionality through ages 85 and older translate into substantial inequalities in 2FLE. For instance, the Black-White gap in age-50 2FLE is 6.9 years (95% CI: -7.5, -6.4) for women and 6.0 years (95% CI: -6.6, -5.4) for men.
CONCLUSIONS: Black, foreign-born Hispanic, and US-born Hispanic older adults are estimated to live a smaller percentage of their remaining years with dual functionality than White older adults. These results reveal stark racial-ethnic inequalities in aging that have significant implications for quality of life, caregiving, and health needs.