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Rapid Communication Open Access
Objective: Comparative studies of ageing well using a biopsychosocial model among populations of disparate cultures and ethnicity could provide better understanding of factors contributing to ageing well. We compared characteristics of Hong Kong Chinese people born in 1921 with people born in the same year in Newcastle, UK, using available published data from the Newcastle Study. Results: Compared with the UK cohort, Hong Kong elderly had more informal social support, in that fewer people lived alone and the ratio of married to widowed persons was higher. There were fewer ex-smokers, lower prevalence of overweight and obesity, lower prevalence of all compared chronic diseases with the exception of dementia, fewer falls in the past 12 months, and more people reporting independence in all activities of daily living. However more Hong Kong people rated their health as fair only, and the prevalence of mild cognitive impairment was higher. Conclusion: The finding of lower prevalence of people rating their health as good in Hong Kong in spite of lower prevalence of chronic diseases, falls and dependency may be an indicator of lack of self-confidence in taking charge of their own health, perhaps a reflection of lower health literacy regarding ageing issues and the way the health system is structured. In depth cross cultural comparisons including longitudinal component would be of interest in determining the relative importance of the diverse contributory factors to ageing well.
Clinical Geriatrics,Critical Gerontology,Geriatric