Adults with disabilities often have worse health outcomes than do their peers without disabilities. While education is a key determinant of health, there is little research available on the health disparities across education levels among adults with disabilities in developing countries. We therefore examined the association between health outcomes and education among adults with disabilities in Shanghai, China.
We used the health examination records of 42,715 adults with disabilities in Shanghai in 2014. Five health outcomes, including two diseases (fatty liver and hemorrhoids) and three risk factors (overweight [body mass index ≥ 24]), high blood glucose, and high blood lipid), were evaluated. Descriptive statistics and Pearson's chi-square test were used to assess differences in participants' demographic and disability characteristics. Pearson's chi-square test and Fisher's exact test were conducted to compare the prevalence of each health outcome among the different education levels. Finally, logistic regression analyses were conducted to explore the association between education and health outcomes after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics.
People with an elementary school or lower degree had the highest prevalence of overweight (52.1%) and high blood glucose (20.8%), but the lowest prevalence of hemorrhoids (18.6%) and fatty liver (38.9%). We observed significant differences in the association between education and health outcomes across disability types. For example, in physically disabled adults, higher education was related to higher odds of hemorrhoids (p < 0.001); however, there were no significant disparities in hemorrhoids across the education levels among adults with intellectual disabilities. Discussion: Compared with people without disabilities, adults with disabilities in Shanghai have relatively poor health. The association between education and health outcomes differed according to the health condition and disability type. To reduce the prevalence rate of overweight and high blood glucose among people with disabilities, tailored health promotion initiatives must be developed for people with lower education levels. In contrast, specific attention should be paid to the prevention of hemorrhoids and fatty liver among more-educated people with disabilities. Our study provides important evidence for targeting educational groups with specific disability types for health promotion and intervention.
Original Publication Citation
Ge, T., Zhang, Q., Lu, J., Chen, G., Sun, M., & Li, X. (2019). Association between education and health outcomes among adults with disabilities: Evidence from Shanghai, China. PeerJ, 7, e6382. doi:10.7717/peerj.6382
Ge, Tong; Zhang, Qi; Lu, Jun; Chen, Gang; Sun, Mei; and Li, Xiaohong, "Association Between Education and Health Outcomes Among Adults With Disabilities: Evidence From Shanghai, China" (2019). Community & Environmental Health Faculty Publications. 73.