Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Factors Influencing Self-Perception of Health Status

Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Factors Influencing Self-Perception of Health Status

Article excerpt


The aim of this study was to evaluate subjective health status of Lódz adult population and to determine the factors affecting their self-perception of health. The study population consisted of randomly selected 1,056 adults aged 20-74 years from Lódz district. Logistic regression model was applied to assess the factors influencing the self-perception of health. More than 30% of study subjects described their health as poor or very poor. There were no statistically significant differences between men and women regarding self-perception of health (p>0.05). Older people more frequently reported their health as poor and very poor compared to those younger than 25 years of age. Four percent of men and 10% of women younger than 25 years of age described their health as poor or very poor whereas in age category 45-54 years that percentage increased to more than 40% (men RR=16.3; p<0.001, women RR=7.5; p<0.001), in 55-64 to 60% (men RR=18.6; p<0.001, women RR=10.0; p<0.001) and for people older than 64 years of age to 60% for men (RR=12.6; p<0.01) and 72% for women (RR=13.4; p<0.001). People with lower educational degree perceived their health as worse compared to those with university diploma (men RR=5.3; p<0.001; women 4.6; p<0.001). The risk of indicating the health as poor or very poor was 3.4 times higher for unemployed men comparing to employed (p<0.001) and 1.5 for unemployed women compared to employed (p>0.05). Men indicating no leisure-time physical activity significantly more frequently described their health as poor or very poor than men with satisfactory level of recreational physical activity (RR=2.2; p<0.01). Current and former smoker men described their health as worse compared to non-smokers (current smokers RR=1.5; p>0.05; former smokers RR=1.8; p>0.05). Preventive programs aimed at improving self-perceived health should concentrate on increasing recreational physical activity and elimination of smoking. Those actions should in particular target people in older age category.

Key words: subjective health, smoking, leisure-time physical activity, educational level, age


Epidemiological data indicate that significant determinants of human health can be categorized in four major groups: lifestyle (50%), environment (20%), human biology (20%) and healthcare services (10%) (1). Of the preventable risks factors responsible for morbidity and mortality, the WHO publication "Comparative Quantification of Health RisL· " lists the top ten as: childhood and maternal underweight; unsafe sex; high blood pressure; tobacco; alcohol; unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene; high cholesterol; indoor smoke from solid fuels; iron deficiency and overweight/ obesity (2). Among non-modifiable factors influencing the health status the most important are gender and age. Women are characterized by higher levels of morbidity than men, but mortality rates are higher and life expectancy is considerably lower for man. The risk of most diseases increases significantly with age. Socioeconomic factors like educational level, employment and income which significantly influence the health status should be taken into account as well.

WHO definition of health and diseases endorsees the usefulness and necessity of performing subjective health assessment which takes into consideration not only the state of somatic but also mental health (3). Furthermore, self-perception of one's own health reflects the capability to function in a definite social and organizational situation and is regarded as a prognostic indicator of prevalence of various chronic diseases, affecting their prognosis (4, 5). Individuals with low values of self-perceived health status may more frequently use medical services and have higher absence from work as compared to those with opposite attitude towards their health (6). This method is not expensive, relatively not very complicated and therefore often incorporated into investigations on large populations. …

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