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Using GIS in a first national mapping of functional disability among older American Indians and Alaska Natives from the 2000 census.

Moss MP, Schell MC, Goins RT - Int J Health Geogr (2006)

Bottom Line: The significance of this study is that gerontologic programs and policies are data-driven, yet there is a lack of reliable national level data from US health systems on functional disability among American Indians and Alaska Natives.One study limitation was that Census questions regarding disability differed from traditional measures of activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living.An immediate policy recommendation would be to incorporate standard activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living language into future Census for a comprehensive, linked database for the future.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: University of Minnesota, School of Nursing, 308 Harvard Street, 6-138 Weaver-Densford Hall, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA. mossx015@umn.edu

ABSTRACT

Background: Geographical information systems (GIS) have been used mainly in understanding infectious diseases and environmental threats in health research. Here, GIS was used to examine patterns of functional disability as one impact of chronic disease in American Indians and Alaska Natives. The study purpose was to create the first national mapping of functional disability for AIANs using the 2000 U.S. Census.

Results: American Indians and Alaska Natives over age 65 reported disability at a rate of 57.6% versus 41.9% for all people over 65 (P < or = 0.0001). Regional differences in levels and type of disability were evident.

Conclusion: Maps help visualize those who might otherwise be 'lost' from the data. The significance of this study is that gerontologic programs and policies are data-driven, yet there is a lack of reliable national level data from US health systems on functional disability among American Indians and Alaska Natives. One study limitation was that Census questions regarding disability differed from traditional measures of activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living. An immediate policy recommendation would be to incorporate standard activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living language into future Census for a comprehensive, linked database for the future.

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Distribution of older AIAN disability by region from the US Census 2000.
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Figure 4: Distribution of older AIAN disability by region from the US Census 2000.

Mentions: Three thematic map types are employed to visualize nationwide levels of impairment in AIAN elders. Figures 1 and 4 are known as proportional symbol maps, where the size of the symbol, in this case a square, is proportional to a quantity, in this case AIAN elders. Proportional symbol maps are most appropriate for visualizing counts of data, especially where the size of the data being mapped does not correspond to the spatial unit of analysis. In this case, small counties which are difficult to see may have large numbers of the variable being mapped. The second type of map, used in Figure 2, is a choropleth map in which the color of the county corresponds to the percent of the variable being mapped. Choropleth maps are most appropriate for normalized data, such as rates of disability. The third map type, employed in Figure 3, is a dot map. Dot maps create an impression of density and are most appropriate for showing distribution of a discrete population over space.


Using GIS in a first national mapping of functional disability among older American Indians and Alaska Natives from the 2000 census.

Moss MP, Schell MC, Goins RT - Int J Health Geogr (2006)

Distribution of older AIAN disability by region from the US Census 2000.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC1590018&req=5

Figure 4: Distribution of older AIAN disability by region from the US Census 2000.
Mentions: Three thematic map types are employed to visualize nationwide levels of impairment in AIAN elders. Figures 1 and 4 are known as proportional symbol maps, where the size of the symbol, in this case a square, is proportional to a quantity, in this case AIAN elders. Proportional symbol maps are most appropriate for visualizing counts of data, especially where the size of the data being mapped does not correspond to the spatial unit of analysis. In this case, small counties which are difficult to see may have large numbers of the variable being mapped. The second type of map, used in Figure 2, is a choropleth map in which the color of the county corresponds to the percent of the variable being mapped. Choropleth maps are most appropriate for normalized data, such as rates of disability. The third map type, employed in Figure 3, is a dot map. Dot maps create an impression of density and are most appropriate for showing distribution of a discrete population over space.

Bottom Line: The significance of this study is that gerontologic programs and policies are data-driven, yet there is a lack of reliable national level data from US health systems on functional disability among American Indians and Alaska Natives.One study limitation was that Census questions regarding disability differed from traditional measures of activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living.An immediate policy recommendation would be to incorporate standard activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living language into future Census for a comprehensive, linked database for the future.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: University of Minnesota, School of Nursing, 308 Harvard Street, 6-138 Weaver-Densford Hall, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA. mossx015@umn.edu

ABSTRACT

Background: Geographical information systems (GIS) have been used mainly in understanding infectious diseases and environmental threats in health research. Here, GIS was used to examine patterns of functional disability as one impact of chronic disease in American Indians and Alaska Natives. The study purpose was to create the first national mapping of functional disability for AIANs using the 2000 U.S. Census.

Results: American Indians and Alaska Natives over age 65 reported disability at a rate of 57.6% versus 41.9% for all people over 65 (P < or = 0.0001). Regional differences in levels and type of disability were evident.

Conclusion: Maps help visualize those who might otherwise be 'lost' from the data. The significance of this study is that gerontologic programs and policies are data-driven, yet there is a lack of reliable national level data from US health systems on functional disability among American Indians and Alaska Natives. One study limitation was that Census questions regarding disability differed from traditional measures of activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living. An immediate policy recommendation would be to incorporate standard activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living language into future Census for a comprehensive, linked database for the future.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus