Sex Difference in the Association between Indoor Air Pollution and Cognitive Health of Older Indian Adults

Ritu Rani , Doctoral Fellow, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
Ankit Sikarwar , National Institute for Demographic Studies (INED)
Géraldine Duthé , Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

Compared with ambient air pollution, little is known about cognitive health in relation to indoor air in India. Over half the world’s population, mostly from developing countries, use solid fuel for domestic purposes, and are therefore exposed to very high concentrations of harmful air pollutants with potential health effects. Older people may be at increased risk of exposure to indoor air pollution due to their higher prevalence of sedentary lifestyles and chronic health conditions. Therefore, this study examines the association between indoor air pollution and cognitive health of older adults using data from the Longitudinal Aging Study in India. Our findings indicate that indoor air pollution is strongly associated with cognitive function among older adults in India and highlights the sex differences. The effect of indoor air pollution on cognitive impairment was greater for women in India. The results show lower cognitive function among older adults in households using solid fuel. The research concludes that indoor air pollution may play as a potential risk factor in shaping cognitive function. Therefore, the study suggests that given the large proportion of the Indian population relying on solid fuel use, and the ageing population, there is a pressing need for more research to inform policy in this area, with a gender dimension.

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 Presented in Session 34. Climate Change, Air Pollution and Health