Background — Multimorbidity, often defined as having two or more chronic conditions is a global phenomenon. This study examined the association between key determinants identified by the chronic disease indicator framework and multimorbidity by rural and urban settings. The prevalence of individual diseases was also investigated by age and sex.
Methods — The Canada Community Health Survey and linked health administrative databases were used to examine the association between multimorbidity, sociodemographic, behavioral, and other risk factors in the province of Ontario. A multivariable logistic regression model was used to conduct the main analysis.
Results — Analyses were stratified by age (20–64 and 65–95) and area of residence (rural and urban). A total sample of n = 174,938 residents between the ages of 20–95 were examined in the Ontario province, of which 18.2% (n = 31,896) were multimorbid with 2 chronic conditions, and 23.4% (n = 40,883) with 3+ chronic conditions. Females had a higher prevalence of 2 conditions (17.9% versus 14.6%) and 3+ conditions (19.7% vs. 15.6%) relative to males. Out of all examined variables, poor self-perception of health, age, Body Mass Index, and income were most significantly associated with multimorbidity. Smoking was a significant risk factor in urban settings but not rural, while drinking was significant in rural and not urban settings. Income inequality was associated with multimorbidity with greater magnitude in rural areas. Prevalence of multimorbidity and having three or more chronic conditions were highest among low-income populations.
Conclusion — Interventions targeting population weight, age/sex specific disease burdens, and additional focus on stable income are encouraged.
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