• Vol. 38 No. 7, 606–612
  • 15 July 2009

Self-rated Health, Associated Factors and Diseases: A Community-based Cross-sectional Study of Singaporean Adults Aged 40 Years and Above



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Introduction: Subjective indicators of health like self-rated health (SRH) have been shown to be a predictor of mortality and morbidity. We determined the prevalence of poor SRH in Singapore and its association with various lifestyle and socioeconomic factors and disease states. Materials and Methods: Cross-sectional survey by interviewer-administered questionnaire of participants aged 40 years and above. SRH was assessed from a standard question and categorised into poor, fair, good or excellent. Lifestyle factors, socioeconomic factors and presence of disease states were also assessed. Results: Out of 409 participants, 27.6% rated their health as poor or fair, 53.1% as good and 19.3% as excellent. Smaller housing-type (PRR: 1.64, 95% CI: 1.10- 2.44) and lack of exercise (PRR: 1.54, 95% CI: 1.06-2.22) were found to be associated with poor SRH. Presence of chronic diseases such as coronary artery disease (PRR: 1.89, 95% CI: 1.13-3.17), diabetes mellitus (PRR: 1.85, 95% CI: 1.18-2.91), history of cancer (PRR: 2.15, 95% CI: 1.05-4.41) and depression (PRR: 1.73, 95% CI: 1.13-2.65) were associated with poor SRH. Conclusion: Prevalence and factors associated with poor SRH in Singapore was comparable to other developed countries. SRH is an important subjective outcome of health and has the potential for wider use in clinical practice in Singapore.

Subjective health indicators including self-rated health (SRH) have been shown to improve patient care in the clinical setting1 and are also useful in measuring quality of life and planning health policy.2 Poor SRH is also a consistent predictor of cardiovascular disease and mortality across several populations.3 Mossey and Shapiro fi rst demonstrated that global self-rating of health was a better predictor of 7-year survival than medical records or self-reports of medical conditions in the Manitoba Longitudinal study.4 Studies have also shown that the prevalence of poor SRH was higher in less developed countries5 compared to more developed ones.6-9 From studies conducted in Singapore,10,11 the prevalence of poor SRH in Singapore in 2001 was reported at about 23%.11 Several predictors of poor SRH have been previously reported, including lower education, socioeconomic status and lack of exercise.12-14

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