Functional disability and diabetes among Latin American and Caribbean elders
Flavia Andrade, University of Wisconsin at Madison
In the last fifty years, life expectancy at birth in Latin America has increased by about 20 years and further increases are expected in the next decades. Therefore, one of the main concerns nowadays is whether such increases in life expectancy imply better health for this larger surviving aging population. This paper uses recent data from two large surveys conducted in seven countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to examine the prevalence and incidence of functional disability associated with diabetes among elderly individuals. The main hypotheses are: a) the odds of functional disability are significantly higher in individuals with diabetes; b) individuals with diabetes are more likely to become functionally disabled; and c) those with diabetes at baseline are less likely to recover from disability. Results confirm all these hypotheses. Public health institutions in these countries should target diabetes in order to reduce the disability and mortality costs associated with the disease.