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Self-rated health and its association with mortality in older adults in China, India and Latin America - a 10/66 Dementia Research Group study

Journal article
Authors Hanna Falk
Ingmar Skoog
Lena Johansson
Maëlenn Guerchet
Rosie Mayston
Helena M Hörder
Martin Prince
A. Matthew Prina
Published in Age and Ageing
Volume 46
Issue 6
Pages 932–939
ISSN 0002-0729
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Centre for Ageing and Health (Agecap)
Pages 932–939
Language en
Keywords Older people, self-rated health, mortality, low- and middle-income countries, 10/66 Dementia Research Group, dementia china cuba demography depressive disorders developing countries dominican republic income india latin america mexico peru puerto rico venezuela mortality elderly group trial
Subject categories Epidemiology


Background empirical evidence from high-income countries suggests that self-rated health (SRH) is useful as a brief and simple outcome measure in public health research. However, in many low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) there is a lack of evaluation and the cross-cultural validity of SRH remains largely untested. This study aims to explore the prevalence of SRH and its association with mortality in older adults in LMIC in order to cross-culturally validate the construct of SRH. Methods population-based cohort studies including 16,940 persons aged ≥65 years in China, India, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Peru, Venezuela, Mexico and Puerto Rico in 2003. SRH was assessed by asking ‘how do you rate your overall health in the past 30 days’ with responses ranging from excellent to poor. Covariates included socio-demographic characteristics, use of health services and health factors. Mortality was ascertained through a screening of all respondents until 2007. Results the prevalence of good SRH was higher in urban compared to rural sites, except in China. Men reported higher SRH than women, and depression had the largest negative impact on SRH in all sites. Without adjustment, those with poor SRH showed a 142% increase risk of dying within 4 years compared to those with moderate SRH. After adjusting for all covariates, those with poor SRH still showed a 43% increased risk. Conclusion our findings support the use of SRH as a simple measure in survey settings to identify vulnerable groups and evaluate health interventions in resource-scares settings.

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