Black-White Disparities in Cognition Declined Between 2008 and 2017

However, disparities persisted among seniors in functional limitations and limitations in activities of daily living

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FRIDAY, Sept. 8, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- For older adults, the prevalence rates of cognitive problems, functional limitations, and activity of daily living (ADL) limitations remain higher in Black than White U.S. seniors, although disparities in cognition have been attenuated, according to a study published online Aug. 29 in the International Journal of Aging and Human Development.

Bolade Ajarat Shipeolu, M.D., from the University of Toronto, and colleagues examined the prevalence of race-based disparities in cognitive problems, functional limitations, and ADL limitations between Black and White older adults in 2008 and 2017 and evaluated how age, sex, income, and education attenuate these racial disparities. Data were included for 423,066 respondents of the American Community Surveys who were aged 65 years and older (388,602 White respondents; 34,464 Black respondents) in 2008 and 536,984 (488,483 White respondents; 48,501 Black respondents) in 2017.

The researchers found that for all three outcomes, Black-White racial disparities were apparent in 2008 and 2017. When adjustments were made for education and income, about half of the racial disparities were attenuated. Between 2008 and 2017, racial disparities in cognition significantly declined, but they persisted in functional limitations and ADL limitations.

"While it is exciting to see across-the-board progress in later-life disabilities over the decade, there is a need to accelerate improvements for older Black Americans to address persistent racial inequities in disabilities," coauthor Esme Fuller-Thomson, Ph.D., also from the University of Toronto, said in a statement.

Abstract/Full Text

Elana Gotkine

Elana Gotkine

Medically reviewed by Mark Arredondo, M.D.

Published on September 08, 2023

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