Poor health in the Korean older population: Age effect or adverse socioeconomic position

Poor health in the Korean older population: Age effect or adverse socioeconomic position

Park, Eun-Ja; Sung-il Cho; Soong-Nang Jang

Self-rated health; Socio-economic status; South Korea
Elswvier Ireland Ltd.
Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, vol. 55, no. 3, pp. 599 - 604
Journal Title
Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics

The objective of this study was to examine the impact of socioeconomic status and age on poor health among elderly people. Data were taken from the 2006 baseline survey of the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging (KLoSA). We compared self-rated poor health, depressive symptoms, chronic disease, and disability in middle-aged (age 45–64), old (age 65–74), and very old (age 75–105) individuals. Logistic regression models were used to assess the effect of a poor social environment on health. Elderly Koreans generally had poor socioeconomic status and reported a high prevalence of poor health compared with middle-aged people. Respondents aged 65–74 years old and those aged 75+ were approximately three and four times more likely, respectively, to report self-rated poor health than middle-aged people. These differences were reduced by 41–71% after controlling for education, employment, and income. Elderly persons were also more likely to report depression, chronic disease, or disability, and the differences between age groups were reduced after adjustment for socioeconomic status, but to a lesser extent than was self-rated poor health. Our results indicate that a substantial portion of the gap in health status between middle-aged and older Koreans may be accounted for by the typically low socioeconomic status of elderly people. Income security and health-related interventions are required to improve the health of the elderly cohort who are confronted with the synergistic effects of aging and low socioeconomic status on health.
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