Prevalence and Trends in Morbidity and Disability Among Older Mexican Americans in the Southwestern United States, 1993-2013

Res Aging. 2018 Apr;40(4):311-339. doi: 10.1177/0164027517697800. Epub 2017 Mar 6.


This study examines the prevalence of morbidity and disability among older Mexican Americans using 5-year age groups. Twenty-year panel data from the Hispanic Established Populations for the Epidemiological Study of the Elderly are used to make detailed comparisons by nativity and gender. Results show that prevalence rates for most chronic conditions for both males and females do not vary by nativity. For disabilities, nativity is a significant predictor of increased instrumental activity of daily living disability for foreign-born females and reduced activity of daily living disability for U.S.-born males. Additionally, results show significant interactions between nativity and age cohorts, with the gap increasing with age for males and decreasing with age for females. These results have important implications for health services and health policy. Given the rapid aging of the Mexican American population, the prevention and treatment of medical conditions, particularly among the foreign-born, should be a major public health priority to reduce dependence from disabilities.

Keywords: Mexican American; disability; morbidity; nativity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / ethnology*
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology
  • Disabled Persons / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy / ethnology
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mexico / ethnology
  • Population Surveillance
  • Self Report
  • Sex Distribution
  • Southwestern United States / epidemiology