BACKGROUND: Poverty at old age is associated with poor dietary habit, nutritional status and higher rates of chronic diseases and psychosocial problems. However, there is limited information about this matter according to urban and rural settings. The aim of this study was to identify dietary, nutritional, physical and cognitive factors associated with poor socioeconomic status (SES) among older adults according to urban and rural settings in Malaysia.
METHODS: An analysis was conducted among 2237 older adults who participated in a longitudinal study on aging (LRGS TUA). This study involved four states in Malaysia, with 49.4% from urban areas. Respondents were divided into three categories of SES based on percentile, stratified according to urban and rural settings. SES was measured using household income.
RESULTS: The prevalence of low SES was higher among older adults in the rural area (50.6%) as compared to the urban area (49.4%). Factors associated with low SES among older adults in an urban setting were low dietary fibre intake (Adj OR:0.91),longer time for the Timed up and Go Test (Adj OR:1.09), greater disability (Adj OR:1.02), less frequent practice of caloric restriction (Adj OR:1.65), lower cognitive processing speed score (Adj OR:0.94) and lower protein intake (Adj OR:0.94). Whilst, among respondents from rural area, the factors associated with low SES were lack of dietary fibre intake (Adj OR:0.79), lower calf circumference (Adj OR: 0.91), lesser fresh fruits intake (Adj OR:0.91), greater disability (Adj OR:1.02) and having lower score in instrumental activities of daily living (Adj OR: 0.92).
CONCLUSION: Lower SES ismore prevalent in rural areas. Poor dietary intake, lower fitness and disability were common factors associated with low in SES, regardless of settings. Factors associated with low SES identifiedin both the urban and rural areas in our study may be useful inplanning strategies to combat low SES and its related problems among older adults.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.