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Gender differences in reported physical function among older adults in Ismailia, Egypt

Zeinab Khadr, American University in Cairo
Kathryn M. Yount, Emory University

Research has documented the tendency of women to report more physical functional limitation than men. This study explores whether gender differences in sociodemographic characteristics, reported morbidity, and economic resources account for differences in reported physical limitation among older adults, controlling for objective measures of physical function. This study uses data from a recent survey of older adults in Egypt. The sample includes 896 adults aged ≥50 years in Ismailia governorate. Information on sociodemographic characteristics, self reported illnesses and disability, and economic resources were collected. A series of in-home objective tests of physical function were performed. Results show that reported physical functional limitation is greater in women than men. Controlling for objective function only attenuates gender differences in reported physical performance. Other attributes of older persons, especially reported morbidity, also partially explain gender differences in reported physical function. Significant gender differences in reported function persist, however, after adjusting for other attributes.

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Presented in Session 86: The demography of Arab countries