Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Quality of Life among General Populations of Different Countries in the Past 10 Years, with a Focus on Human Development Index: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Quality of Life among General Populations of Different Countries in the Past 10 Years, with a Focus on Human Development Index: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Article excerpt

Introduction

Nowadays, the measurement and assessment of quality of life among the general population have become one of the main activities of public health research. The results of these studies are utilized in resource allocation decision-making relevant to health promotion and well-being (1). Generally, Quality of Life has no definite and universal definition, although people instinctively understand its meaning, but the concept is not the same among them (2).

Most experts consider QOL as a subjective and dynamic concept. Subjective means the individual's own opinions must be obtained, and dynamic means changes with time; therefore, it must be measured for a period. On the other hand, subjective measurement is necessary, but not sufficient, and that each of the QOL domains should have the ability to be measured both subjectively and objectively (2).

According to the definition of World Health Organization (WHO), quality of life is people's concept of their positions in life from the perspective of the culture and evaluative system in which they live, and the goals, expectations, standards and priorities that they have. The factors that affect individuals' concepts of QOL are physical health, psychological status, level of independence, social relationships, personal beliefs and environmental characteristics (3).

QOL somewhat describes the status of the people living in a country or region, and is nowadays considered an acceptable theoretical framework for examining the living conditions of different societies. In addition to economic issues, QOL affects the statuses of a society's individuals, taking into account exogenous factors such as infrastructures, social organizations, social relationships, environment etc. (4). Information on QOL of the general population of a given country can provide basic data for assessing interventions (5).

The WHOQOL-BREF questionnaire is a multicultural QOL assessment tool that consists of four broad domains, physical health, psychological health, social relationships and environmental health, and another two questions that evaluate the overall QOL and general health status (6-8). This questionnaire has been translated and validated into over 40 languages around the world (7).

The human development index (HDI) was introduced in 1990 as a new index for measuring development in different communities. This index is based on the basic idea that the prerequisite of achieving a better life, in addition to having a high income, is the flourishing and development of human talents and capacities (9). The HDI is a composite index for assessing the success achieved by a given country in three key dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and a decent standard of living (10).

HDI is the geometric mean of normalized indices for each of the three dimensions, calculated using the following:

* Life expectancy,

* Expected years of schooling (of children), mean years of schooling (the average numbers of years of education received by the population aged > 25 yr in a country -without the years repeated);

* The gross national income per capita (GNI) (which is the average income of the citizens of a country -in dollars- and is calculated by dividing the entire income of a country -in dollars- by the population of that country) (11).

Each year, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) publishes an annual report in which the HDI of all the countries have been calculated and ranked in comparison to the others in that given year (11).

The calculated HDI is a number between zero and one. Through this index, the UNDP classifies the countries around the world into four groups: countries with a very high HDI (HDI>0.8); countries with a high HDI (0.8>HDI>0.7); countries with a medium HDI (0.7>HDI>5.5); and countries with a low HDI (HDI<5.5) (11 ,12).

There is no published study on the association between HDI and QOL among general population of different countries. …

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