Functional limitation among middle age and older adults: Exploring cross-national gender disparities.

TitleFunctional limitation among middle age and older adults: Exploring cross-national gender disparities.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of PublicationForthcoming
AuthorsBurns, SD, Ailshire, JA, Crimmins, EM
JournalArchives of Gerontology Geriatrics
Volume123
Pagination105410
ISSN Number1872-6976
Keywordscomorbidities, Disablement Process, Gender inequality, global aging, life course
Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Functional limitations are prevalent among aging demographics, especially women. Structural and health factors, which vary worldwide, influence rates of functional limitations. Yet, gender disparities in functional limitation remain unclear in a global context.

METHODS: We use 2018 data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) international family of studies with respondents ages 50-64 and (n = 87,479) and 65-89 (n = 92,145) to investigate gender disparities in large muscle functional limitation (LMFL) across 10 countries/regions using mixed effects logistic regression, with special attention to structural indicators of inequality and health.

RESULTS: Among both women and men, LMFL was generally higher in China, India, Mexico, United States, and Baltic States than in England, Scandinavia, Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, and Western Europe. The gender disparity in LMFL gradually declined at older ages in India, China, Mexico, and United States, while this disparity gradually increased at older ages throughout Europe. Among middle age respondents, the greater risk of LMFL for women in countries/regions with a high GII was no longer observed after accounting for comorbidities. Among older respondents, a lower risk of LMFL for women in countries/regions with a high GII was not observed until accounting for comorbidities.

DISCUSSION: Our findings suggest that rates of LMFL are higher in middle-income countries than high-income countries, especially among women, and in countries with a higher GII. In addition, consideration of comorbidities was integral to these relationships. Thus, national/regional contexts inform differential rates of functional limitation, particularly as it relates to gender.

DOI10.1016/j.archger.2024.105410
Citation Key13830
PubMed ID38503129