Objectives: To investigate the associations between household wealth, household consumption, and chronic disease risk behaviors among older adults in rural South Africa.
Methods: Data were from baseline assessments of 5059 adults aged ≥ 40 in the population-based "Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH Community in South Africa" in 2015. Confounder-adjusted prevalence ratios were estimated for the associations between each of household wealth and household consumption quintiles with low moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), current smoking, frequent alcohol intake, and overweight/obese body mass index (BMI).
Results: Low MVPA and overweight/obese BMI were common (57% and 58%, respectively), and linearly increased in prevalence across household wealth quintiles. Low MVPA decreased and overweight/obese BMI increased in prevalence across household consumption quintiles. Smoking and frequent alcohol intake were rare (9% and 6%, respectively); they decreased in prevalence across wealth quintiles, but did not vary by consumption quintile.
Conclusions: Chronic disease risk behaviors are socioeconomically graded among older, rural South African adults. The high prevalence of overweight and obesity in rural South Africa is a public health concern requiring urgent attention.
Keywords: Aging; Alcohol; Body mass index; Physical activity; Rural; Smoking; Socioeconomic inequalities; South Africa.