Blacks, Hispanics Interviewed in Spanish More Likely Than Whites To Have Disability Related to Arthritis, Study Finds
Among older people with arthritis, blacks and Hispanics interviewed in Spanish are more likely than whites to be unable to perform at least one daily living activity as a result of the condition, according to a study published in the August edition of Arthritis Care & Research, HealthDay News/Washington Post reports.
For the study, researchers at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine looked at the 1998-2004 Health and Retirement Study, which included data from 7,300 people who reported having arthritis but did not have a disability at the beginning of the study. Researchers defined disability as being unable to perform at least one daily living task, including dressing, walking, getting in or out of bed, bathing, eating and using the bathroom. One out of six of the participants had difficultly with one of those tasks by the end of the study, according to HealthDay/Post. Compared with whites, Hispanics interviewed in Spanish and blacks were twice as likely to report a disability, while Hispanics interviewed in English had disability rates similar to those of whites. Of study participants, 85.5% were white, 9.3% were black, 2.9% were Hispanics interviewed in English and 2.4% were Hispanics interviewed in Spanish. Researchers divided Hispanics according to language to assess how speaking English might affect a person's ability to understand health information and access care.
According to researchers, the difference in disability rates could be related to access to care issues, economic resources, type of insurance coverage, presence of other chronic conditions, physical limitations and behaviors such as smoking, drinking alcohol or engaging in regular exercise.
Researchers called for future research to examine the best way to target programs toward minorities that help prevent the development of a disability (HealthDay News/Washington Post, 7/30).
An abstract of the study is available online.