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Public Health Rep. 2004 Sep-Oct; 119(5): 493–505.
PMCID: PMC1497661
Worsening trends in adult health-related quality of life and self-rated health-United States, 1993-2001.
Matthew M. Zack, David G. Moriarty, Donna F. Stroup, Earl S. Ford, and Ali H. Mokdad
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.
Matthew M. Zack: mmz1/at/cdc.gov
Abstract
OBJECTIVES: Health-related quality of life and self-rated health complement mortality and morbidity as measures used in tracking changes and disparities in population health. The objectives of this study were to determine whether and how health-related quality of life and self-rated health changed overall in U.S. adults and in specific sociodemographic and geographic groups from 1993 through 2001. METHODS: The authors analyzed data from annual cross-sectional Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System surveys of 1.2 million adults from randomly selected households with telephones in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. RESULTS: Mean physically and mentally unhealthy days and activity limitation days remained constant early in the study period but increased later on. Mean unhealthy days increased about 14% during the study period. The percentage with fair or poor self-rated health increased from 13.4% in 1993 to 15.5% in 2001. Health-related quality of life and self-rated health worsened in most demographic groups, especially adults 45-54 years old, high school graduates without further education, and those with annual household incomes less than $50,000. However, adults 65 years old or older and people identified as non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander reported stable or improving health-related quality of life and self-rated health. In 18 of the states and the District of Columbia, mean unhealthy days increased, while only North Dakota reported a decrease. CONCLUSION: Population tracking of adult health-related quality of life and self-rated health identified worsening trends overall and for many groups, suggesting that the nation's overall health goals as identified in the Healthy People planning process are not being met.
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