Multimorbidity in South Asian adults: Prevalence, risk factors and mortality

Kalpana Singh, Shivani A. Patel, Suddhendu Biswas, Roopa Shivashankar, Dimple Kondal, Vamadevan S. Ajay, Ranjit Mohan Anjana, Zafar Fatmi, Mohammed K. Ali, M. Masood Kadir, Viswanathan Mohan, Nikhil Tandon, K. M.Venkat Narayan, Dorairaj Prabhakaran

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61 Citations (Scopus)


Background We report the prevalence, risk factors and mortality associated with multimorbidity in urban South Asian adults. Methods Hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and chronic kidney disease were measured at baseline in a sample of 16 287 adults ages ≥20 years in Delhi, Chennai and Karachi in 2010-11 followed for an average of 38 months. Multimorbidity was defined as having ≥2 chronic conditions at baseline. We identified correlates of multimorbidity at baseline using multinomial logistic models, and we assessed the prospective association between multimorbidity and mortality using Cox proportional hazards models. Results The adjusted prevalence of multimorbidity was 9.4%; multimorbidity was highest in adults who were aged ≥60 years (37%), consumed alcohol (12.3%), body mass index ≥25 m/kg2 (14.1%), high waist circumference (17.1%) and had family history of a chronic condition (12.4%). Compared with adults with no chronic conditions, the fully adjusted relative hazard of death was twice as high in adults with two morbidities (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.3; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.6, 3.3) and thrice as high in adults with ≥3 morbidities (HR = 3.1; 95% CI: 1.9, 5.1). Conclusion Multimorbidity affects nearly 1 in 10 urban South Asians, and each additional morbidity carries a progressively higher risk of death. Identifying locally appropriate strategies for prevention and coordinated management of multimorbidity will benefit population health in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-89
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Chronic disease
  • Mortality
  • Multimorbidity
  • South Asia


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