Prevalence of non-communicable chronic conditions, multimorbidity and its correlates among older adults in rural Nepal: a cross-sectional study

Selvanaayagam Shanmuganathan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives This study’s objectives were to estimate the prevalence of major non-communicable conditions and multimorbidity among older adults in rural Nepal and examine the associated socioeconomic and behavioural risk factors.

Design This was a community-based cross-sectional study conducted between January and April 2018.

Setting Rural municipalities of Sunsari and Morang districts in eastern Nepal.

Participants 794 older Nepalese adults, 60 years and older, were recruited using a multistage cluster sampling approach.

Primary outcome measure(s) Prevalence of four major non-communicable chronic conditions (osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and multimorbidity.

Results Almost half (48.9%: men 45.3%; women 52.4%) of the participants had at least one of four non-communicable chronic conditions, and 14.6% (men 12.5%; women 16.8%) had two or more conditions. The prevalence of individual conditions included: osteoarthritis—41.7% (men 37.5%; women 45.9%), cardiovascular disease—2.4% (men 2.8%; women 2.0%), diabetes—5.3% (men 6.0%; women 4.6%) and COPD—15.4% (men 13.3%; women 17.5%). In the adjusted model, older adults aged 70–79 years (adjusted OR (AOR): 1.62; 95% CI: 1.04 to 2.54), those from Madhesi and other ethnic groups (AOR: 1.08; 95% CI: 1.02 to 1.72), without a history of alcohol drinking (AOR: 1.53; 95% CI: 1.18 to 2.01) and those physically inactive (AOR: 5.02; 95% CI: 1.47 to 17.17) had significantly higher odds of multimorbidity.

Conclusions This study found one in seven study participants had multimorbidity. The prevalence of multimorbidity and associated socioeconomic and behavioural correlates need to be addressed by integrating social programmes with health prevention and management at multiple levels. Moreover, a longitudinal study is suggested to understand the temporal relationship between lifestyle predictors and multimorbidity among older Nepalese adults.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ Open
Volume11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2020

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