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Gender-specific patterns in age-related decline in general health among Danish and Chinese: a cross-national comparative study

Wu, Y., Zhang, D., Pang, Z., Oksuzyan, A., Jiang, W., Wang, S., Li, S., Kruse, T., Christensen, K., Tan, Q.

Geriatrics & Gerontology International , 12:3, 431-439 (2012)

DOI:10.1111/j.1447-0594.2011.00784.x

Keywords: China, Denmark, health, sex differentials

Abstract

Aim: Studies carried out in Western populations have shown age-related changes in multiple health domains together with gender-specific patterns. By focusing on five health domains, self-rated health, hand grip strength, sit-to-stand test, cognitive performance and depression, we examined the age trajectories in general health in a cross-sectional Chinese sample representing the world’s largest ethnic population and compare with Danish data that represent Western populations in developed countries. Methods: Multiple regression models were fitted to compare patterns across genders and populations together with gender- and population-specific patterns in age-related decline. Results: Better self-rated health for males than for females was observed in both countries, and Danes reported better health than the Chinese for both genders. For hand grip strength, significant gender differences were shown across countries and significant population differences observed in Danish and Chinese males. There was no population difference in sit-to-stand time across genders. Female Danes outperformed males in cognitive performance. No significant gender differences in depression were observed in both populations. Conclusion: Our cross population analysis identified significant gender and population differences suggesting endogenous biological, physical and social environmental determinants in age-related decline in general health.

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