Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Indicators of Physical Health Status: Do They Still Exist Throughout Late Life?
Version of Record online: 7 OCT 2010
© 2010, Copyright the Authors. Journal compilation © 2010, The American Geriatrics Society
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume 58, Issue 10, pages 2009–2015, October 2010
How to Cite
August, K. J. and Sorkin, D. H. (2010), Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Indicators of Physical Health Status: Do They Still Exist Throughout Late Life?. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 58: 2009–2015. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.03033.x
- Issue online: 7 OCT 2010
- Version of Record online: 7 OCT 2010
- indicators of physical health status;
- older adults;
- racial and ethnic disparities;
- California Health Interview Survey
Physical health problems become more common as people age and are associated with a great deal of disability. Although racial and ethnic disparities have been reported in physical health, little is known about whether these disparities remain in the latest part of older adulthood. Accordingly, the current study sought to examine racial and ethnic differences in the physical health status of three age groups of older adults, using the 2005 and 2007 California Health Interview Survey. The sample for the current study included 40,631 individuals aged 55 and older: 33,488 non-Hispanic whites, 1,858 blacks, 2,872 Asians and Pacific Islanders, and 2,412 Latinos. Respondents were compared with regard to three indicators of physical health: four chronic health conditions, difficulties with activities of daily living, and self-rated health. Analyses were conducted with and without adjustment for sex, marital status, education, English-language proficiency, nativity, and insurance status. Results revealed that, in general, racial and ethnic disparities existed for physical health in late adulthood, with differences less pronounced for Asians and Pacific Islanders and Latinos aged 75 and older after multivariable adjustment. Disparities between blacks and non-Hispanic whites and disparities across all racial and ethnic minorities in self-rated health still existed. These findings suggest that, to reduce racial and ethnic disparities, clinicians need to address specific sociodemographic and lifestyle factors related to racial and ethnic differences in health before these conditions are manifested in late adulthood.