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Original Article

Socio-demographic and Lifestyle Correlates of Self-perceived Health Status in a Population-based Sample of Albanian Adult Men and Women

Fatjona Kraja, Bledar Kraja, Luljeta Cakerri, and Genc Burazeri.

Aim: Self-perceived health is considered a suitable health indicator, based on a single item asking individuals to rate their health. It has been recommended as a reliable factor to assess the population health. Several socio-demographic and lifestyle determinants of self-perceived health status have been documented in different population. The aim of our study was to assess the socio-demographic and lifestyle correlates of self-perceived health status in a population-based sample of Albanian adult men and women. Methods: Data from 12,554 individuals aged ≥35 years collected by the Albania Living Standard Measurement Survey (LSMS) 2012, which is a national population-based cross-sectional study, were analyzed. The study participants rated their health in five categories: very good, good, average, poor and very poor, which in the analyses were dichotomized into “not poor” and “poor health”. Other variables included demographic characteristics, economic level, employment status, smoking and alcohol intake. Binary logistic regression was used to assess the association of self-perceived health with demographic and lifestyle factors. Results: Upon multivariate adjustment for all covariates in a backward stepwise elimination procedure, strong and significant “predictors” of poor self-perceived health status were older age (OR=3.0, 95%CI=2.4-3.7), unemployment (OR=5.6, 95%CI=4.0-7.8), male gender (OR=1.2, 95%CI=1.0-1.5), low education (OR=2.0, OR=1.3-3.0), current smoking (OR=1.7, 95%CI=1.2-2.4) and alcohol abstinence (OR=1.4, 95%CI=1.1-1.7). Conclusions: Our findings indicate that the low socioeconomic groups in Albania have a significantly lower self-perceived health status. Furthermore, smoking was a significant “determinant” of poor self-perceived health in this study population, which is compatible with previous reports from other countries.

Key words: lifestyle factors, Living Standard Measurement Survey, self-perceived health, socio-demographic factors.

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