Introduction: Little is known about the prevalence and predictors of chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) of older adults in South Africa. This study aims to investigate the self-reported prevalences of major chronic NCDs and their predictors among older South Africans.
Methods: We conducted a national population-based cross-sectional survey with a sample of 3,840 individuals aged 50 years or above in South Africa in 2008. The outcome variable was the self-reported presence of chronic NCDs suffered, namely, arthritis, stroke, angina, diabetes, chronic lung disease, asthma, depression, and hypertension. The exposure variables were sociodemographic characteristics: age, gender, education, wealth status, race, marital status, and residence. Multivariate logistic regression was used to determine sociodemographic factors predictive of the presence of chronic NCDs.
Results: The prevalence of chronic NCDs was 51.8%. The prevalence of multimorbidity (≥2 chronic conditions) was 22.5%. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that being female, being in age groups 60-79 and 70-79, being Coloured or Asian, having no schooling, having greater wealth, and residing in an urban area were associated with the presence of NCDs.
Conclusion: The rising burden of chronic NCDs affecting older people places a heavy burden on the healthcare system as a result of increased demand and access to healthcare services. Concerted effort is needed to develop strategies for the prevention and management of NCDs, especially among economically disadvantaged individuals who need these services the most.
Keywords: South Africa; ageing; chronic non-communicable diseases; self-reported.