DOI: 10.3390/medicina60010087 ISSN: 1648-9144

Association between Perceived Activity Restriction Due to People’s Perception of Aging and Unmet Medical Needs among Middle-Aged and Elderly People: A Population-Based Study

Jeong-Min Yang, Min-Soo Kim, Ji-Sung Hong, Jae-Hyun Kim
  • General Medicine

Background and Objectives: The older members of a population might experience unmet medical needs, despite desiring medical care due to activity limitations driven by their perception of aging. This study conducted a cross-sectional analysis of the association between perceived activity restriction (PAR) due to people’s own perception of aging and unmet medical needs (UMN) in late middle-aged and older Koreans based on the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES). Materials and Methods: The 2016–2020 KNHANES was used to analyze a total of 2008 participants among groups aged 45 years or older by applying individual weights imposed from the raw data. The independent variable of PAR was assessed using self-reported questionnaires based on the global activity limitation indicator. Also, the dependent variable of UMN, referring to the state in which a patient’s medical care or service was insufficient, inadequate, or lacking, was assessed using a single question. After excluding missing values, the data on 2008 individuals were analyzed using a chi-square test, weighted logistic regression, and a stratified analysis of gender, age, and the presence of chronic illnesses. Results: The group that experienced PAR had an OR 2.13 higher (odds ratio [OR]: 2.13; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.27–3.56) to present UMN than the group that did not experience PAR. Furthermore, the results of the stratified analysis indicated that, in the group of female participants with chronic illness and in the group of elderly people, experiencing PAR was associated with a higher experience of UMN. Conclusions: There was a close association between PAR and UMN. In particular, when PAR occurred in the group of female participants with chronic illness and in the group of elderly people, the incidence rate of UMN was also found to be high. This finding highlights the need for policies and institutional measures to reduce UMN within vulnerable groups with an increased risk of medical inaccessibility due to activity restriction.

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