Original Research

Rural–urban health disparities among older adults in South Africa

Karl Peltzer, Nancy Phaswana-Mafuya, Supa Pengpid
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 11, No 1 | a1890 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v11i1.1890 | © 2019 Karl Peltzer, Nancy Phaswana-Mafuya, Supa Pengpid | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 July 2018 | Published: 19 June 2019

About the author(s)

Karl Peltzer, Department of Research and Innovation, North West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa; and HIV/AIDS/STIs and TB (HAST) Research Programme, Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria, South Africa
Nancy Phaswana-Mafuya, Department of Research and Innovation, North West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Supa Pengpid, Department of Research and Innovation, North West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa; and ASEAN Institute for Health Development, Mahidol University, Nakhonpathom, Thailand


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Abstract

Background: There are limited studies assessing rural–urban disparities among older adults in Africa including South Africa.

Aim: This study explores rural–urban health disparities among older adults in a population-based survey in South Africa.

Setting: Data for this study emanated from the 2008 study on ‘Global Ageing and Adult Health (SAGE) wave 1’ (N = 3280) aged 50 years or older in South Africa.

Methods: Associations between exposure variables and outcome variables (health status variables and chronic conditions) were examined through bivariate analyses and multivariable logistic regression.

Results: Rural dwellers were more likely to be older, black African and had lower education and wealth than urban dwellers. Rural and urban dwellers reported a similar prevalence of self-rated health status, quality of life, severe functional disability, arthritis, asthma, lung disease, hypertension, obesity, underweight, stroke and/or angina, low vision, depression, anxiety and nocturnal sleep problems. Adjusting for socio-demographic and health risk behaviour variables, urban dwellers had a higher prevalence of diabetes (OR: 2.36, 95% CI: 1.37, 4.04), edentulism (OR: 2.79, 95% CI: 1.27, 6.09) and cognitive functioning (OR: 1.91, 95% CI: 1.27, 2.85) than rural dwellers.

Conclusion: There are some rural–urban health disparities in South Africa, that is, urban dwellers had a higher prevalence of diabetes, edentulism and cognitive functioning than rural ones. Understanding these rural–urban health variations may help in developing better strategies to improve health across geolocality in South Africa.


Keywords

rural–urban; health status; chronic conditions; disparities; older adults; South Africa.

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