209383 Assessing Subjective and Objective Health in Elderly Adults: Disparity in Health Status

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 10:50 AM

Yoon-Ho Seol, PhD , Department of Health Informatics, Georgia Health Sciences University, Augusta, GA
Genny Carrillo Zuniga, MD, ScD , Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Texas A&M Health Sciences Center, School of Rural Public Health, McAllen, TX
Miguel A. Zuniga, MD, DrPH , Department of Health Policy and Management, Texas A&M Health Science Center, McAllen, TX
Background: As the life expectancy is highest than ever before, there would be a substantial demographic shift toward more people entering the oldest age groups. This study enhances our understanding of the U.S. elderly population through comparative analysis of their subjective and objective health status from a healthcare perspective.

Methods: Data for this study were obtained from the nationally representative 2005 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. The subjective health status of elderly people (>= 65 years of age) was assessed using the respondents' perceived health status and their objective health status was estimated using a composite value of functional limitations in performing activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL). Target population was grouped into 5-year intervals, and the groups were analyzed by gender, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were used for comparisons.

Results: Respondents' objective health status was lowest in males, those 80 years old and over, African Americans, living on poor income, never-married, and with no educational degree. The overall effects of the predictors were similar for subjective health status. However, the results showed statistical inconsistencies between the patterns of subjective and objective health evaluations in different age groups.

Conclusion: Despite their functional limitations, a substantial number of elderly people are able to adapt well to their current health status and perceive their health positively. Building a specific and better understanding of health status measures for different elderly age-groups may provide more meaningful and responsive assessments of their needs and preferences.

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the effect of subjective and objective health status measurement in a respresentative sample of the US elderly population. 2. Contrast subjective and objective health status assessment utilizing panel survey responses.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have strong experience in secondary data analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.