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Cross-sectional relationship between haemoglobin concentration and measures of physical and cognitive function in an older rural South African population
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2018 (English)In: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, ISSN 0143-005X, E-ISSN 1470-2738, Vol. 72, no 9, p. 796-802Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Age cohort differences in haemoglobin concentrations and associations with physical and cognitive performance among populations of lower income and middle-income countries have not previously been described. We examined the association between these factors among older men and women in rural South Africa.

Methods: We analysed cross-sectional data from a population-based study of rural South African men and women aged 40 and over (n=4499), with data drawn from questionnaire responses, a cognitive battery, objective physical function tests and blood tests. Anaemia was defined as a haemoglobin concentration <12 g/dL for women and <13 g/dL for men. We related haemoglobin concentrations to each of age, grip strength, walk speed and a latent cognitive function z-score for men and women separately. We used unadjusted correlations and linear models to adjust for comorbidities and inflammation.

Results: In total, 1042 (43.0%) women and 833 (40.1%) men were anaemic. Haemoglobin concentrations were inversely correlated with age for men but not for women; in adjusted analyses, haemoglobin was 0.3 g/dL lower per decade older for men (95% CI 0.2 to 0.4 g/dL). In adjusted analyses, haemoglobin concentration was independently associated with grip strength in women (B=0.391, 95% CI 0.177 to 0.605), but this did not reach significance in men (B=0.266, 95% CI -0.019 to 0.552); no associations were observed between haemoglobin levels and walk speed or cognitive score.

Conclusions: Anaemia was prevalent in this study population of middle-aged and older, rural South African adults, but in contrast to high-income countries, it was not associated with poor physical or cognitive function. Our findings need to be replicated in other populations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BMJ Publishing Group Ltd, 2018. Vol. 72, no 9, p. 796-802
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-152413DOI: 10.1136/jech-2018-210449ISI: 000445084200007PubMedID: 29680801OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-152413DiVA, id: diva2:1253574
Available from: 2018-10-05 Created: 2018-10-05 Last updated: 2018-10-05Bibliographically approved

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Kahn, KathleenTollman, Stephen M.

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