The increasing number of non-communicable diseases among older adults requires a thorough understanding of health status and health behaviour among older adults for effective policy measures to prevent age-related diseases. As such, this study aims to answer the following questions: (i) what types of health-promoting behaviours are adopted by older Malaysians? (ii) what are the health conditions of older Malaysians? (iii) how do ethnicity and other factors influence the health-promoting behaviours of older Malaysians? and (iv) how do these behaviours differ across different ethnic groups? By using the 2011 and 2015 National Health and Morbidity Surveys (NHMS) containing 2,721 and 3,790 observations for 2011 and 2015, the study finds a significant relationship between ethnicity and the health-promoting behaviours and health status of older adults in Malaysia. While health-promoting behaviour showed improvement over the study period across all ethnic groups, health status differs across the years and between ethnic groups. A common trend was that Chinese older adults are prone to be involved in at least two health-promoting behaviours while the Malay and Indian older adults are involved in at least one, with the probability of involvement in such health-promoting behaviours showing a reduction in 2015. The findings suggest that more awareness of health-promoting behaviours is needed according to ethnicity at a younger age, as a preventive measure for better health.
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This research benefited from USM RU Top-Down research grant 1001/PSOSIAL/8070001. Authors would like to thank Ministry of Health Malaysia for sharing the National Health and Morbidity Survey data and permission to publish. Our appreciation goes to Professor Dr. Roderick Lawrence for the constructive review of the paper and our Postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Norhafiza Mohd Sharif for the initial groundwork and collation of literature.
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Mohd, S., Abdul Latiff, A.R., Mohd Noor, R. et al. Ethnic Variability of Health-Promoting Behaviours of Older Adults in Malaysia. Population Ageing 16, 155–175 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12062-022-09359-5