Volume 36 - Article 30 | Pages 863–892  

Functional limitation trajectories and their determinants among women in the Philippines

By Zachary Zimmer, Luoman Bao, Nanette L. Mayol, Feinian Chen, Tita Lorna L. Perez, Paulita L. Duazo


Background: Limited evidence exists regarding how functional limitation patterns of women in developing countries unfold through midlife and into old age, a critical period during which the tendency to develop severe problems is fomented.

Objective: Functional limitation prevalence and patterns through midlife into early old age, and their determinants, are examined among women in the Philippines.

Methods: Data from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Study are monitored from 1994 to 2015. Patterns are categorized using group-based trajectory modeling. Predictors of group membership are modeled.

Results: About half responding to all survey waves report functional limitation at least once over the study period. Movements in and out of functional limitation states are common. Between age 30 and 70, trajectories are categorized into four groups: 1) robust, 2) late onset, 3) early onset, and 4) recovery. Being married, living in a nuclear household, higher successful birth ratio, and higher education associate with favorable trajectories. More births, higher age at first birth, wealth, and urbanicity associate with less favorable trajectories.

Conclusions: Many possible routes into and out of functional limitation exist. The manifold patterns can be grouped into common trajectories. A number of earlier life characteristics associate with these trajectories.

Contribution: This is the first analysis to ascertain common functional limitation trajectories and earlier life predictors among women as they age in a high fertility developing country setting. Recognizing these is an important step toward understanding global health given aging of the population and the likelihood of functional problems developing in women as they move into old age.

Author's Affiliation

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