AbstractIntroductionThe prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Malaysia shows a rising trend that influences the society in many respects. A country specific evidence is vital for effective intervention. The aims of this study were to identify the role of gender and urbanization status on NCDs prevalence and its effect on health care demand, specifically doctor visits among Malaysian older age group. We focused on two of the highest occurrence NCDs in the country – diabetes and hypertension.MethodsA total of 1,414 respondents aged 60 years and above were selected using a multistage sampling for face-to-face interview. We started the analysis with descriptive analysis of the prevalence, taking the effect of gender and urbanization status of residing area. We extended the study with parametric analysis to find the effect of these health problems on the likelihood of doctor visits as it reflects the equity for access and utilization issues.ResultsResults showed that there was a significant difference of prevalence by gender for hypertension but not diabetes. The prevalence was higher at urban setting but with no significant difference. By utilizing probit model, we found that those with diabetes or hypertension, controlling for other variables, were more likely to utilize doctor services.ConclusionThis result implies that the prevalence of NCDs may further increase demand for health care, especially in the state with a high proportion of older age groups. KeywordsDiabetes, elderly, health care utilization, hypertension, non-communicable diseases
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