Blacks, Hispanics More Likely To Have Disability Related To Arthritis

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Among older people with arthritis, blacks and Hispanics interviewed inSpanish are more likely than whites to be unable to perform at leastone daily living activity as a result of the condition, according to astudy 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 Medicinelooked at the 1998-2004 Health and Retirement Study, which includeddata from 7,300 people who reported having arthritis but did not have adisability at the beginning of the study. Researchers defineddisability as being unable to perform at least one daily living task,including dressing, walking, getting in or out of bed, bathing, eatingand using the bathroom.

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One out of six of the participants haddifficultly with one of those tasks by the end of the study, accordingto HealthDay/Post. Compared with whites, Hispanicsinterviewed in Spanish and blacks were twice as likely to report adisability, while Hispanics interviewed in English had disability ratessimilar 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 Hispanicsaccording to language to assess how speaking English might affect aperson's ability to understand health information and access care.

Accordingto researchers, the difference in disability rates could be related toaccess to care issues, economic resources, type of insurance coverage,presence of other chronic conditions, physical limitations andbehaviors such as smoking, drinking alcohol or engaging in regularexercise.

Researchers called for future research to examine thebest way to target programs toward minorities that help prevent thedevelopment of a disability (HealthDay News/Washington Post, 7/30).

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Reprinted with permission fromkaisernetwork.org.You can view the entire KaiserWeekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives,and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published forkaisernetwork.org,a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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