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Disability and multimorbidity in women older than 50 years

a population-based household survey

Aguiar, Luiza Borges PhT; Baccaro, Luiz Francisco MD, PhD; de Souza Santos Machado, Vanessa MD, PhD; Pinto-Neto, Aarão Mendes MD, PhD; Costa-Paiva, Lúcia MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000355
Original Articles

Objective This study aims to evaluate the prevalence of disability and associated factors in Brazilian women older than 50 years.

Methods We conducted a cross-sectional study (in the form of a population survey) of 622 women older than 50 years and residing in Campinas, Brazil. Disability was assessed through a questionnaire with seven items and defined as “being completely unable to perform any of them.” Independent variables included self-perception of health, sociodemographic data, health-related habits, and morbidities. Statistical analysis was carried out by χ2 test and Poisson regression.

Results The mean age of women was 64.1 years, and the prevalence of disability was 43.4%. Age (prevalence ratio [PR], 1.02; 95% CI, 1.01-1.03), fear of falling (PR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.17-2.16), higher body mass index (PR, 1.03; 95% CI, 1.01-1.05), personal history of myocardial infarction (PR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.06-1.76), smoking more than 15 cigarettes per day (PR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.04-1.72), hospitalization in the past year (PR, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.03-1.62), multimorbidity (PR, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.02-2.02), and use of any medication prescribed by a doctor (PR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.02-2.41) were associated with a higher prevalence of disability. Self-perception of health as good/very good (PR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.52-0.86), use of alternative medications (PR, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.33-0.90), and more years of schooling (PR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.45-0.93) were associated with a lower prevalence of disability.

Conclusions The results improve our understanding of the factors associated with disability in Brazilian women and may help identify those who need multidisciplinary support to reduce effects on quality of life.

From the Department of Gynecology, State University of Campinas, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil.

Received June 29, 2014; revised and accepted August 27, 2014.

Funding/support: This work was supported by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (grant 2010/15867-1).

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Lúcia Costa-Paiva, MD, PhD, Department of Gynecology, State University of Campinas, Rua Alexander Fleming, 101, Cidade Universitária Zeferino Vaz, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil. E-mail:

© 2015 by The North American Menopause Society.