Study: Aging Latinos Less Likely to Become Frail
Older Mexican Americans were much less likely to become frail than Anglos, after adjusting for differences in income and health, according to a new study, the San Antonio Express-News reports.
The findings are from the federally funded San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging, a research project that followed 600 Hispanic and Anglo older adults for over 10 years.
Although the Mexican Americans on average had lower incomes and more diabetes than Anglos, the two groups were frail in roughly equal percentages by the end. But when the researchers adjusted for those differences, individual Mexican Americans were about 60 percent less likely to become frail. Frailty is usually defined as weakness, slowness, wasting and exhaustion, and can predict a rapid decline and death.
Given that some studies have shown higher levels of frailty in minorities, this finding was surprising.
“Perhaps Mexican Americans have more social support such that they age better,” said Dr. Sara Espinoza, an assistant professor of medicine at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio who led the study. “There have been studies to suggest people who are more socially engaged are less likely to age unsuccessfully.”
The findings were published in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
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