Gender health disparities among older adults in South Africa

  • Refilwe Nancy Phaswana-Mafuya
  • Karl Peltzer
  • Motlatso Mlambo
  • Edith Phalane
Keywords: Gender disparities; health status; chronic conditions; older adults; South Africa


In Africa, South Africa included, not so many population-based studies examining gender differences in health outcomes of older people have been conducted. This population-based study examined gender differences in health outcomes among older South Africans. Data from the “Global Ageing and Adults Health (SAGE) wave 1” study (N=3284) involving South Africans aged 50+ years was analysed. Associations between socio-demographics (exposures) and health outcomes were examined through logistic regression analyses. Results indicate that the odds of having arthritis (p<0.001), lung disease (p=0.012), obesity (p<0.001), diabetes (p=0.003), anxiety (p=0.026), and nocturnal sleep problems (p<0.001) were lower among men than women, and the odds for having underweight were higher among men than women (p=0.004). In conclusion, there are significant health differences among older men and women in South Africa. Understanding gender health disparities is critical for designing equitable health promotion strategies.


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eISSN: 1596-9231