Sociodemographic predictors of multiple non-communicable disease risk factors among older adults in South Africa
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Unhealthy lifestyle behaviours are important risk factors of morbidity and mortality. This study aimed to explore the sociodemographic predictors of multiple non-communicable disease (NCD) risk factors experienced by elderly South Africans. We conducted a national population-based cross-sectional survey with a sample of 3,840 individuals aged 50 years or above in South Africa in 2008. The outcome variable was the co-existence of multiple NCD risk factors (tobacco use, alcohol, physical inactivity, fruit and vegetable intake, overweight or obesity, and hypertension) in each individual. The exposure variables were sociodemographic characteristics, namely, age, gender, education, wealth status, population group, marital status, and residence. Multivariate linear regression was used to assess the association between sociodemographic variables and multiple NCD risk factors. The mean number of NCD risk factors among all participants was three. Multivariate linear regression analysis revealed that being female, being in the age group of 60-69 years, and being from the Coloured and Black African race were associated with a higher number of NCD risk factors. Marital status, educational level, wealth, and residence were not significantly associated with the number of NCD risk factors experienced. The co-existence of multiple lifestyle NCD risk factors among the elderly is a public health concern. Comprehensive health-promotion interventions addressing the co-existence of multiple NCD risk factors tailored for specific sociodemographic groups are needed.
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