Background: Multimorbidity is defined as the co-occurrence of two or more than two diseases in the same person. With rising longevity, multimorbidity has become a prominent concern among the older population. Evidence from both developed and developing countries shows that older people are at much higher risk of multimorbidity, however, urban-rural differential remained scarce. Therefore, this study examines urban-rural differential in multimorbidity among older adults by decomposing the risk factors of multimorbidity and identifying the covariates that contributed to the change in multimorbidity.
Methods: The study utilized information from 31,464 older adults (rural-20,725 and urban-10,739) aged 60 years and above from the recent release of the Longitudinal Ageing Study in India (LASI) wave 1 data. Descriptive, bivariate, and multivariate decomposition analysis techniques were used.
Results: Overall, significant urban-rural differences were found in the prevalence of multimorbidity among older adults (difference: 16.3; p<0.001). Moreover, obese/overweight and high-risk waist circumference were found to narrow the difference in the prevalence of multimorbidity among older adults between urban and rural areas by 8% and 9.1%, respectively.
Conclusion: There is a need to substantially increase the public sector investment in healthcare to address the multimorbidity among older adults, more so in urban areas, without compromising the needs of older adults in rural areas.