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Prev Chronic Dis. 2014 Jul 3;11:E110. doi: 10.5888/pcd11.140023.

Geographical variation in health-related quality of life among older US adults, 1997-2010.

Author information

  • 1Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, 1120 NW 14th St, Room 1073, Miami, FL 33136. E-mail: dkachan@med.miami.edu.
  • 2University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is an important predictor of morbidity and mortality; however, its geographical variation in older adults in the United States has not been characterized. We compared HRQOL among older adults in the 50 US states and the District of Columbia using the Health and Activities Limitation Index (HALex). We also compared the HRQOL of 4 regions: South, West, Midwest, and Northeast.

METHODS:

We analyzed pooled data from 1997 through 2010 from the National Health Interview Survey for participants aged 65 or older. HALex scores (which range from 0 to 1.00, with higher values indicating better health) were calculated by combining data on participants' perceived health and activity limitations. We ranked states by mean HALex score and performed multivariable logistic regression analyses to compare low scores (defined as scores in the lowest quintile) among US regions after adjustment for sociodemographics, health behaviors, and survey design.

RESULTS:

Older residents of Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and West Virginia had the lowest mean HALex scores (range, 0.62-0.68); residents of Arizona, Delaware, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Vermont had the highest mean scores (range, 0.78-0.79). Residents in the Northeast (odds ratio [OR], 0.66; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.57-0.76) and the Midwest (OR, 64; 95% CI, 0.56-0.73) were less likely than residents in the South to have scores in the lowest quintile after adjustment for sociodemographics, health behaviors, and survey design.

CONCLUSION:

Significant regional differences exist in HRQOL of older Americans. Future research could provide policy makers with information on improving HRQOL of older Americans.

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