February 10, 2012
Tell Me How You Are — And I Know How Long You Will Live
How would you rate your health? This is a question that often appears on questionnaires. The answer is linked to the respondent's probability of survival or death. Needless to say, a pessimistic assessment goes hand in hand with an increased risk of illness or death. It can be assumed that on average people who rate their health as poor have an unhealthier lifestyle, are often in a fragile state of health or are already sick. However, earlier studies that only monitored the participants for a few years after the survey reveal that the correlation persists even if these factors are taken into account.
Self-rating more permanent “¦
... risk factors taken into consideration
Even taking education levels, marital status, tobacco-related strains, medical history, the use of medication, blood pressure and blood glucose into account, the correlation between self-rated health and mortality only weakened marginally. The difference in the risk of death between the best and the worst rating was still 1:2.9 in men and 1:1.5 in women. "Our results indicate that people who rate their state of health as excellent have attributes that improve and sustain their health," concludes specialist in preventive medicine David FÃ¤h. "These might include a positive attitude, an optimistic outlook and a fundamental level of satisfaction with one's own life."
Doctors called for
The results of the study support the broad concept of health advocated by the World Health Organization not as the absence of disease, but rather as complete physical, mental and social wellbeing. "Good doctors should therefore not just look for the presence of risk factors or diseases, but also check which health resources their patients have and boost and consolidate them if need be," says David FÃ¤h.
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