Prevalence of Chronic Disease and the Degree of Rurality of American Indian Elders in a Nationally Representative Sample of 100 Tribes

Lead researcher:
Project completed:
August 2004
There is a paucity of information about prevalence of chronic disease in American Indians (male and female), and no information about rural/urban differences in older American Indians. Furthermore, limited research is available on the association between chronic disease and availability of health services among American Indian elders. The specific aim of this study is to determine if there are differences in prevalence of chronic disease in American Indian elders across age groups (55-64, 65-74, 75-84 and 85+) in urban vs. rural vs. frontier counties. In addition, several factors that may moderate potential differences will be explored in relation to urban, rural and frontier county status and prevalence of chronic disease. These factors include health damaging behaviors, access to health care services and providers, and degree of functional limitation. The proposed study attempts to fill this gap through the analyses of linked data from an ongoing national Native Elder Social and Health Needs Assessment Project funded by the U.S. DHHS Administration on Aging and a data subset from the Area Resource File. Study findings and related policy implications will be disseminated to key research and policy stakeholders including Native American Tribal Health/Elder Councils, other tribal policymakers, and the U.S. Committee on Indian Affairs. The study findings will serve as a foundation for long term research efforts focused on informing and aligning programs for evidence-based public policies to meet the health care needs of American Indian elders.

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