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Open Access Research article

Lifestyle and self-rated health: a cross-sectional study of 3,601 citizens of Athens, Greece

Christina Darviri, Artemios K Artemiadis, Xanthi Tigani and Evangelos C Alexopoulos*

Author Affiliations

Postgraduate Course Stress Management and Health Promotion, School of Medicine, University of Athens, Soranou Ephessiou Str., 4, Postal code: GR-115-27, Athens (Greece

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:619  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-619

Published: 4 August 2011

Abstract

Background

Self-rated health (SRH) is a popular health measure determined by multiple factors. International literature is increasingly focusing on health-related behaviors such as smoking, dietary habits, physical activity, even religiosity. However, population-based studies taking into account multiple putative determinants of SRH in Greece are scarce. The aim of this study was to clarify possible determinants of SRH with an emphasis on the relationship between SRH and lifestyle variables in a large sample of urban citizens.

Methods

In this one-year cross-sectional study, a stratified random sample of 3,601 urban citizens was selected. Data were collected using an interview-based questionnaire about various demographic, socioeconomic, disease- and lifestyle related factors such as smoking, physical activity, dietary habits, sleep quality and religiosity. Multivariate logistic regression was used separately in three age groups [15-29 (N = 1,360), 30-49 (N = 1,122) and 50+ (N = 1,119) years old] in order to identify putative lifestyle and other determinants of SRH.

Results

Reporting of good SRH decreased with age (97.1%, 91.4% and 74.8%, respectively). Overall, possible confounders of the lifestyle-SRH relationship among age groups were sex, education, hospitalization during the last year, daily physical symptoms and disease status. Poor SRH was associated with less physical activity in the 15-29 years old (OR 2.22, 95%CI 1.14-4.33), with past or heavy smoking, along with no sleep satisfaction in the 30-49 years old (OR 3.23, 95%CI 1.35-7.74, OR 2.56, 95%CI 1.29-5.05, OR 1.79, 95%CI 1.1-2.92, respectively) and with obesity and no sleep satisfaction in the 50+ years old individuals (OR 1.83, 95%CI 1.19-2.81, OR 2.54, 95%CI 1.83-3.54). Sleep dissatisfaction of the 50+ years old was the only variable associated with poor SRH at the 0.001 p level of significance (OR 2.45, 99%CI 1.59 to 3.76). Subgroup analyses of the 15-19 years old individuals also revealed sleep dissatisfaction as the only significant variable correlated with SRH.

Conclusions

Slight differences in lifestyle determinants of SRH were identified among age groups. Sleep quality emerged as an important determinant of SRH in the majority of participants.

Keywords:
self-rated health; health promotion; sleep; health inequalities; lifestyle; public health