A recent study published in the June issue of Arthritis Care and Research analyzed disparities between health status, work and housework related disability and overall activity limitations between Latinos and non-Latino whites with arthritis.
The authors noted that arthritis is one of the leading causes of activity limitations for Latinos; however, there are few studies and only a small amount of national data on arthritis for this ethnic group. The prevalence of arthritis is lower among Latinos than non-Latino whites, but Latinos with arthritis are more likely than non-Latino whites to experience limitations in their daily activities.
The results of the study show that Latinos with arthritis are twice as likely as non-Latino whites to suffer from worse health and have greater activity limitations and work/housework disability. The study also found that education had a significant positive effect on health status, and it limited work disability, while co-morbid conditions and an increased level of health care utilization was associated with an increased likelihood of worse health, activity limitations and work disability.
While the majority of both Latino and non-Latino whites included in the study were not employed, the risk of work disability was two times greater among Latinos. According to the authors, two explanations for this might be that data shows that Latinos overall have a lower level of education than non-Latino whites and are overrepresented in physically demanding occupations. Nonprofessional occupations and physically demanding jobs are associated with higher levels of work disability. The authors noted that low education level is a major risk factor for work disability. They theorized that Latinos may not have the education or job skills that would allow them to take more white-collar jobs that are less physically demanding but stated that more research is needed to understand the factors that limit work opportunities and put Latinos at greater risk for disability.
The study also focused on housework among women. More women than men suffer from arthritis, and a prior study indicated that arthritis has a major impact on homemakers. Disability and activity limitations related to housework may be understudied because prior studies have focused solely on paid work. The research found that Latinas have high rates of disability and that one in three Latina women reported being disabled in terms of housework. The authors added that more research should be conducted to study the effect of housework disability on the overall health and well-being of women.
Abraído-Lanza, Ana, et. al., Health Status, Activity Limitations, and Disability in Work and Housework Among Latinos and Non-Latinos With Arthritis: An Analysis of National Data. Arthritis Care & Research, Vol. 55 No. 3, June 15, 2006.
Published On: July 05, 2006