Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tell me how you are, and I know how long you will live

Date:
February 9, 2012
Source:
University of Zurich
Summary:
The way people rate their health determines their probability of survival in the following decades. Researchers have demonstrated that for ratings ranging from "excellent," "good," "fair," and "poor" to "very poor," the risk of mortality increases steadily – independently of such known risk factors as smoking, low education levels or pre-existing diseases.

The way people rate their health determines their probability of survival in the following decades. Researchers from the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Zurich demonstrate that for ratings ranging from "excellent," "good," "fair" and "poor" to "very poor," the risk of mortality increases steadily -- independently of such known risk factors as smoking, low education levels or pre-existing diseases.

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

Now, researchers from the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Zurich demonstrate that self-rated health is also linked to the probability of survival or death over a long period of more than thirty years. In the study, which was conducted in Switzerland, men who rated their health as "very poor" were 3.3 times more likely to die than men of the same age who rated their health as "excellent," and the risk of death was 1.9 times higher in women who rated their health as "very poor" than for those who rated it as "excellent." Here, the risk increased steadily from an optimistic to a pessimistic rating: people in "excellent" health had better chances of survival than those in "good" health, the latter better chances than those in a "fair" state of health, and so on. "The steady increase in risk and the long time of over thirty years between the self-rating and the end of the observation period render it practically impossible for medical history or a dark foreboding to be main causes of the correlation observed," explains head of the study Matthias Bopp.

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 Fäh. "These might include a positive attitude, an optimistic outlook and a fundamental level of satisfaction with one's own life."

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 Fäh.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Zurich. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Matthias Bopp, Julia Braun, Felix Gutzwiller, David Faeh. Health Risk or Resource? Gradual and Independent Association between Self-Rated Health and Mortality Persists Over 30 Years. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (2): e30795 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0030795

Cite This Page:

University of Zurich. "Tell me how you are, and I know how long you will live." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120209172818.htm>.
University of Zurich. (2012, February 9). Tell me how you are, and I know how long you will live. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120209172818.htm
University of Zurich. "Tell me how you are, and I know how long you will live." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120209172818.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) — Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) — Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins