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Socioeconomic and age gradients of health of Indian adults: an assessment of self-reported and performance-based measures of health

Arokiasamy, Perianayagam and Uttamacharya, Uttamacharya and Kowal, Paul (2013): Socioeconomic and age gradients of health of Indian adults: an assessment of self-reported and performance-based measures of health.

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Abstract

Objectives: This paper describes the age patterns of socioeconomic gradients of health of Indian adults for multiple health indicators encompassing the multidimensional nature of health. Methods: Cross-sectional data on 11,230 Indians aged 18-plus from the WHO-SAGE India Wave 1, 2007 is used. Multivariate logit models were estimated to examine the effects of socioeconomic status (education and household wealth) and age on four health measures: self-rated health, self-reporting functioning, chronic diseases, and performance-based health indicators. Findings: Socioeconomic status was positively associated with each health measure but with considerable heterogeneity across age groups. SES relationship with biomarkers (hypertension and COPD) was inconclusive. SES effects are significant while adjusting for background characteristics and health risk factors. The age patterns of SES gradient of health depict divergence with age, however, no conclusive age pattern emerged for performance-based health indicators. Discussion: Overall, results in this paper dispelled the conclusion of negative SES-health association found in some previous Indian studies and reinforced the hypothesis of positive association of SES with health for Indian adults. Higher prevalence of negative health outcomes and SES disparities of health outcomes among older age-groups highlight need for inclusive and focused health care interventions for older adults across socioeconomic spectrum.

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