Prevalence and patterns of multimorbidity among elderly people in rural Bangladesh: a cross-sectional study

J Health Popul Nutr. 2011 Aug;29(4):406-14. doi: 10.3329/jhpn.v29i4.8458.


Data on multimorbidity among the elderly people in Bangladesh are lacking. This paper reports the prevalence and distribution patterns of multimorbidity among the elderly people in rural Bangladesh. This cross-sectional study was conducted among persons aged > or = 60 years in Matlab, Bangladesh. Information on their demographics and literacy was collected through interview in the home. Information about their assets was obtained from a surveillance database. Physicians conducted clinical examinations at a local health centre. Two physicians diagnosed medical conditions, and two senior geriatricians then evaluated the same separately. Multimorbidity was defined as suffering from two or more of nine chronic medical conditions, such as arthritis, stroke, obesity, signs of thyroid hypofunction, obstructive pulmonary symptoms, symptoms of heart failure, impaired vision, hearing impairment, and high blood pressure. The overall prevalence of multimorbidity among the study population was 53.8%, and it was significantly higher among women, illiterates, persons who were single, and persons in the non-poorest quintile. In multivariable logistic regression analyses, female sex and belonging to the non-poorest quintile were independently associated with an increased odds ratio of multimorbidity. The results suggest that the prevalence of multimorbidity is high among the elderly people in rural Bangladesh. Women and the non-poorest group of the elderly people are more likely than men and the poorest people to be affected by multimorbidity. The study sheds new light on the need of primary care for the elderly people with multimorbidity in rural Bangladesh.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bangladesh / epidemiology
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Rural Health*