Multimorbidity and the Inequalities of Global Ageing: A Cross-Sectional Study of 28 Countries Using the World Health Surveys

Sara Afshar, University of Southampton
Paul J Roderick, University of Southampton
Allan G Hill, University of Southampton
Borislav D Dimitrov, University of Southampton
Paul Kowal, World Health Organization (WHO)

Multimorbidity, as the “the coexistence of two or more chronic diseases” in one individual, is increasing in prevalence globally. The aim of the study was to compare the prevalence of multimorbidity across LMICs and HICs, as well as stratified by age and SES. Chronic disease data from 28 countries of the World Health Survey (2003) was extracted and inter-country socioeconomic differences were examined using gross domestic product (GDP). Regression analyses were applied to examine associations of SES with multimorbidity by region and by age. The mean world standardized prevalence was 7.8% (95% CI, 7.79% - 7.83%). A positive but non–linear relationship was found between country GDP and multimorbidity prevalence. Higher SES was significantly associated with a decreased risk of multimorbidity in the all-region analyses. Multimorbidity is a global phenomenon. Policy makers worldwide need to address these health inequalities, and support the complex service needs of a growing multimorbid population.

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Presented in Session 87: Chronic Diseases in Developing Countries