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Factors associated with self-perception of health among Brazilian women 50 years or older: a population-based study

Machado, Vanessa S.S. MD, MSc; Valadares, Ana Lúcia Ribeiro MD, PhD; da Costa-Paiva, Lúcia S. MD, PhD; de Souza, Maria Helena PhD; Osis, Maria José PhD; Pinto-Neto, Aarão Mendes MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/GME.0b013e318287e69e
Original Study

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate factors associated with self-perception of health among women 50 years or older living in a Brazilian city.

Methods: A cross-sectional, population-based study was conducted using self-reported data from a household survey carried out in a sample of 622 women 50 years or older. Sociodemographic and clinical factors associated with the women’s perception of their own health (very good, good, fair, poor, or very poor) were assessed. χ2 test and Poison multiple logistic regression analysis were used to select the principal factors associated with a poorer perception of health at a significance level of 5%.

Results: Multiple analyses showed that the probability of association of chronic diseases with a woman’s perception of her health as fair, poor, or very poor increased by 97% when at least two morbidities were present, whereas for each point (kg/m2) increase in body mass index, the probability of association with her perceiving her health as poorer increased by 2% (95% CI, 1.01-1.04). The probability of association decreased by 50% if she had more than 8 years of schooling (95% CI, 0.36-0.70), by 29% if she had health insurance (95% CI, 0.59-0.86), and by 32% if she performed physical exercise weekly (95% CI, 0.54-0.86).

Conclusions: The presence of multimorbidities and a higher body mass index increases the probability of association with a woman’s poorer perception of her own health, whereas having more than 8 years of schooling, having medical insurance, and performing physical exercise weekly decreases the probability of association with a poorer perception of health.

From the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medical Sciences, University of Campinas, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil.

Received November 2, 2012; revised and accepted January 15, 2013.

Funding/support: This study was supported by the São Paulo Foundation for the Support of Research (grant 04/10524-8).

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Ana Lúcia Ribeiro Valadares, MD, PhD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medical Sciences, PO Box 6111, State University of Campinas, Campinas, SP 13083-970, Brazil. E-mail: anarvaladares@gmail.com

© 2013 by The North American Menopause Society.